Sunday, July 29, 2007

Steroids and Sport

I am on NECN (New England Cable News) on Monday, July 30 at 7pm with Jim Braude to talk about steroids, sports, and whether women are just as likely to use performance enhancements as men.

It should be an interesting discussion - particularly in light of the ejection of Michael Rasmussen from the Tour de France (among other athletes), several of whom did not actually ever test positive. Rasmussen failed to make himself available for out-of-competition drug tests, a fact which which prompted the Danish cycling federation to ban him from competing in the 2007 World Championships and the 2007 Olympic Games. Despite this well known fact, Rasmussen, ironically, was allowed to compete at the Tour de France, where he was the race leader going into the final time trial with a very comfortable lead. However, a commentator announced that he had seen Rasmussen in Italy (during the dates of the missed drug tests) contesting Rasmussen's claim that he had been in Mexico with family members at the time. The Rabobank Team concluded that he lied about his whereabouts, and they yanked him from the Tour de France and sent him home - another low moment in the Tour de France.

My overall conclusion is this - follow the money, and wherever there is money, there is generally doping. Professional cycling, football, boxing, baseball, weightlifting, track and field, to name a few. In fact, when I was competing, we all knew that most of the Eastern Block athletes used steroids and other enhancements - - but here again, money, apartments, large cash bonuses for Iron Curtain team athletes and coaches, and other incentives were at stake.

Many people hold the athlete accountable when drug tests are positive - but what will really clean up sports is to hold the coach/doctor/staff/owner accountable. If these coaches are fired, things will change very dramatically and very quickly. Steroid use among high school athletes is alarmingly on the rise - and unless coaches check this and insist on random drug testing with serious consequences for those who test positive, the problem will get worse before it gets better.

1 comment:

Billy said...

Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, red bull, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.