Off Topic: Let them Dope

by F.

Now Floyd Landis is on the hotseat, at least until the B sample is tested. Is everyone else as tired of this as me? I mean, Who cares if they dope or not?


I can’t really see any good argument against doping, other than rider health. But are these products that unhealthy? I don’t know. EPO can be. But could doctors come up with (i) safe (ii) performance enhancing drug cocktails? Probably. If so, use ’em.

The moral objection seems to be that doping destroys the sport. But this objection is based on the illusion that these athletes are more than machines, which they aren’t. They’re meat machines selected for their ability to produce watts, like horses or NASCAR vehicles.

Do they train their way to greatness? Not really. Sure, they train. But they are already genetic freaks. I believe that Lance had the highest VO2 max result ever at the US Olympic Training Center when he was tested some time back. Did he get that by training? Not most of it. He was a great triathlete even as a teenager. And then there is the contribution of technology. Sure, it only makes 1% difference. But that 1% is the difference between being on the podium and being another also-ran.

We seem to think of athletes as “like us:” willful creatures pursuing a goal of their own volition. But that’s not really the whole story. They are more like Battle Bots. The days of the “talented amateur”—someone like Roger Bannister, maybe—are long, long gone. Maybe they never existed.

So, let’s go all the way. Let them dope. Fill them full of testosterone and cortisone and EPO and lets see those records fall. After all, this is what happens in most sports (e.g., baseball). Cycling is unfairly singled out as a dirty sport, but it’s not. Legalize doping, I say.