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Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Kiwi cyclist has admitted to using pain pills to aid his performance

Alex McGrego 
A Kiwi cyclist has admitted to using pain pills to aid his performance - and says he knows other riders who are doing the same.
Dunedin road rider and winner of this year's Tour de Lakes, Alex McGregor, told the Sunday Star-Times he has been influenced towards the practice by a sport scientist - who also works for national body Bike New Zealand.
Last night New Zealand sport's anti-doping boss, Graeme Steel, expressed concern, saying: "Athletes begin on the road to doping by doing things that are technically permitted, but really are on the verge of unethical behaviour."
McGregor, 23, confirmed that over the past two years he has taken over-the-counter painkillers before and during races to intentionally dull the effects of fatigue.
McGregor says he will continue to experiment with the practice despite suspecting it interferes with medication prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Young, classy cyclists are a dime a dozen, you can feed them any kind of rubbish, be it caffeine, ibuprofen, carbo shots, or Gatorade and they will perform well.  But how many of these talented young men and women are still around competing at 30 years of age?  Very few indeed.  Who cares?  Nobody.  There's an endless supply to replace the ones who fall by the wayside.

Of course nobody cares because there is the "culture of youth".  The ailing 30 year old is quickly discarded and forgotten with all attention and resources redirected at the next up-and-coming 18-something champion-to-be.  So the repetitious cycle goes, if you'll excuse the pun.

I hope the Otago University Faculty of Physical Education is not forgetting the lofty ideals of its origins.  When I was a student there, under the tutelage of the founding father of the faculty, Professor Philip Smithells, what we studied was consistent with the ideals of the ancient Greek educators and philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, with regards to the well-rounded, educated, physically active citizen, "healthy mind - healthy body".  
Here we have a story involving an academic who may be one of the faculty staff, either directly or indirectly, encouraging the use of drugs by healthy young men and in a manner that comes very close to being unethical in sport.  Just a few weeks ago I was dismayed to learn that the faculty is advocating, in its lectures to students, the wonders of stomach reduction surgery for weight loss.  This just does not fit with what I understand physical education to be.  It also demonstrates an ignorance of the long term health consequences of stomach reduction surgery:  Short term gains - yes!  But serious health problems develop and overwhelm the person after the initial euphoria of the "honey-moon period".  Sure, this statement may not stack up with the research but that is because of the absurdity of early study cut-off dates, such as after only two or five years. In my experience the situation generally changes for the worst as the years pass because the underlying causes of the obesity have not been fully addressed.  
A grounded physical education programme addresses the underlying issues of ill health and inactivity and is not blinded by the cult of the "quick-fix".

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The advice in these articles is given freely without promise or obligation. Its all about giving you and your family the tools and information to take control of your health and fitness.

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