Pubdate: Sat, 30 Sep 2000
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 The Toronto Star
Contact:  One Yonge St., Toronto ON, M5E 1E6
Fax: (416) 869-4322
Page: H7
Author: Dave Haans


Am I the only one who thinks that we should allow athletes to dope 
themselves silly, if only to stop the anti-doping madness that pervades and 
perverts the Olympics?

Has the anti-doping strategy worked? No, not one bit. Just like the war on 
drugs, users simply become much more careful in taking the substance in 
order to evade detection.

Is it fair? No. The rules seem to be unevenly and unfairly applied. U.S. 
athletes, apparently, have had their drug test results tucked under the 
rug, while other athletes have their drug test results (and loss of a medal 
if they won one) broadcast to billions. Who knows what else has taken place 
behind the scenes?

Does it contribute to the health of the athletes? No, since if an athlete 
decides to use a performance-enhancing substance, he or she will choose the 
substance based upon how detectable it is and not how safe it is.

So, we have an anti-doping policy that does not do what it is supposed to 
do - reduce doping by athletes, contribute to and maintain the health of 
athletes, or level the playing field. Like the war on drugs, it is and will 
always be a complete failure, with unintended consequences that far exceed 
the harm of the activity in the first place.

Of course, the IOC knows that cracking down on drugs deflects public 
attention from real issues. Lumping other, non-performance enhancing 
substances (marijuana, cocaine) into the mix is proof that the IOC is less 
concerned with fairness than it is with judging the morality of athletes. 
Any new drug means more doping news, more drug testing, more disgraced 
athletes, and much less room for IOC-scandal related stories.

Stop this circus. Let's get back to the Games, plain and simple.

Dave Haans
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