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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Drugspotters Guide to the Olympic Games

Amuse yourself during the boring bits of the Games (there's plenty of these) by trying to spot the drugs cheats (plenty of these as well!).

(Please note that the following checklist is about indicators only. A "positive" tick is not evidence of cheating)
  • Anabolic Steroids and Testosterone
    • Premature/sudden male pattern baldness
    • Excessively well muscled (Especially if female
    • Five O'Clock Shadow (Female athlete) despite the makeup
    • Bad skin - acne, pimples
      • Early death due to liver cancer
  • Growth Hormone
    • Unusually long arms, legs, feet and hands in proportion to trunk (long bones do the extra growing while bones like the spine don't)
    • Unusually large jaw bone
    • Orthodontic work (braces)
    • Heavy set brow (Neanderthal features)
    • A woman who you would swear was a man!
  • Speed
    • Talks at the rate of 1,000 wpm when being interviewed
    • Bulging eyes
  • Blood doping
    • Not even puffing despite just having run/swum/cycled/paddled etc at world record pace while others are lying semi-conscious on the ground or throwing up
  • Any or all of the above
    • Mature athlete knocks 10+% of time just three months after the World Champs
    • Dramatic loss of form out of season - Depression, weight gain
    • Sudden and totally unexpected retirement at the height of one's career
  • False Passport/Birth Certificate
    • You would swear that 16 year old gymnast is really 10 years old!
  • Garbled and poorly researched sports commentary
    • Alcohol
      • Too many late night drinks in the hotel bar!
Remember the Tour de France last year: American cyclist, Floyd Landis looked as good as dead to the world after a crucial stage. The next day he stunned the World by riding away from the field and went on to win the Tour. He had cheated: infusing a whole lot of suped-up blood overnight. Or, remember that Australian paddler, Nathan Baguley, who beat Ben Fouhy: caught later on for drugs cheating. Like many of these outed cheats, Landis remains a hero at home.

Sure there is more drugs testing than ever at these Games; but this is farcical. Remember USA drugs cheat, Marion Jones, who cleaned up the medals at Sydney 2000: She was using undetectable designer drugs which were only discovered later on by sheer accident when an FBI investigation of the manufacturer (Victor Conte and Balco Industries) turned up some interesting client records that included Ms Jones.

Drugs testing will not expose the 24 year old athlete who took growth hormone as a teenager to increase his limb length. Nor will it expose the athlete who is doping with a natural method (Such as infusing his own haemoglobin or testosterone) just up to the limit that triggers a positive result; but not quite over. Nor will testing show up the athlete who has used drugs during crucial training stages. And it sure won't catch the designer drugs that we currently know nothing of.

In my opinion, those who are in charge don't really want to catch the cheats. If they did, they would ban the cheats for life and they would go further and go for the real dirty cheats: The officials, the trainers, the exercise physiologist, the doctors and the chemists - and the financers who make up the sophisticated team that perpetrates this sham. These low lifes have no hesitation in sucking in the next naiive and talented youngster and have no hesitation in cutting them loose when caught out. This is no loss to them: There is plenty more young talent where that sucker came from. Why do the the Drugs Police never go for the machinery behind a postiive drugs test? Wiping out the infrastructure is the most obvious measure that is never talked about, let alone exercised.

It is a terrible shame that sport is so tainted with the dirty smell of performance enhancing drugs. These dirty cheats relegate the clean athletes to 4th place or lower as well as into financial poverty and sporting oblivion. When a clean athlete with freakish natural abilities produces a stunning winning performance, their achievement is forever tainted by the cheats about them.

Mud sticks to clean surfaces

The photos of Marion Jones (above) shows her at her winning peak and later on while the Victor Conte scandal was gaining a head of steam. Her loss of athletic form was dramatic, as was her transformation back to a more feminine physique. When I pointed this out in an article at the time, I had a flurry of canceled subs to my blog by members of the USA track and field community. I guess its all right to cheat so long as you don't get caught!

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Anonymous said...

now do't be too hard on floyd landis - he was only trying to follow in lance armstrongs footsteps but without the benefit of sponsorship by a huge drug company.....

i would challenge anyone to name one tour de france winner since jaques anquetil in 1957 who was riding clean - certainly not anquetil who was a big time druggie!

Gary Moller said...

Yeah! Floyd's really dumb mistake was getting over-excited the following day and going out from the gun like a crazy bullet, thus drawing so much media speculation that he had to be hung out!

He would have been better off to hide in the peleton a while and then win in little pieces over several stages