Why is doping bad?

Aug 30, 2010
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After spending a bit of time on this forum reading all the faux moral outrage and begrudgery around doping I am still completely unable to come up with a good answer to why doping is illegal. For those who say it's about fairness what about diet? Food is medically classified in the same category as doping products and essentially enables the same processes within the body. So therefore should we ban food or make everyone eat exactly the same things? To me sport is about pushing the limits of the human body. If drugs allow you to push yourself further why not? It's still the human body. The body has to react to the introduction of foreign bodies (food or drugs). Anything which is in our environment and accessible to us should be used. We are after all products of our environment.

I also see posts from people such as Suzanne Sonye who says she did the right thing in speaking up. Why is it the right thing? Because it's against the law? Maybe the law is wrong (I think we can all agree that it is idealistic and completely unrealistic because it is obviously not working very well as is)? It seems to me that most people were told doping is cheating and cheating is bad from a very young age and therefore never actually questioned the area of doping law fully. An indoctrination of sorts. Doping need not be cheating...

In short I feel that we as the cycling community have a moral obligation to question why we automatically assume doping is bad. Under controlled environments doping could work while in an uncontrolled environment we will see more sad cases like that of Ricco. The legalisation of doping could also have an added knock on effect of increasing the speed of innovation within the medical world which would be a positive outcome for all of us.

I'm a huge fan of transparency, innovation and human progress (in all walks of life) and doping in sports in one facet which could be developed and progressed openly to the benefit of all of us.

Thoughts?
 
I hear ya brother. It's not like anyone has ever died from doping, so why does it matter? Okay, maybe they have, but not a lot of people. Besides, it's probably because drugs are illegal that people die from them. Think about it: they're hard to get, so athletes don't have a lot of experience using them. If they did, they'd be able to use them properly. Also, because it's illegal, you have people like Ricco doing transfusions in his bathroom with 18 month old blood. Way dangerous.

If PEDs and autologous blood transfusions were made legal and taken under doctor's supervision, we'd be a lot better off. We should have education programs for teenagers, preteens and kindergartners to explain the proper use of nandrolone, the proper technique for intravenous injections. We can't have them go through the junior ranks, make it to the pros and say "okay, you can use PEDs, have at it kids". They need exposure and proper training. (plus, like cigarettes or alcohol, if you make it legal for adults, kids will have much easier access, even if illegal for them...may as well train them, too.) Parents want the best for their kids (give them a chance to make it in the pros!) and that means teaching them PED use, too.

But, I'll probably be flamed for advocating testosterone patches on 4 year olds, but honestly, if it helps them develop as an athlete and is done safely under parents' supervision and with the kid's consent, I'm fine with it. Why arbitrarily draw the line at 23 year olds, or 18 or 16 or 12 or 5?
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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alpine_chav said:
After spending a bit of time on this forum reading all the faux moral outrage and begrudgery around doping I am still completely unable to come up with a good answer to why doping is illegal. For those who say it's about fairness what about diet? Food is medically classified in the same category as doping products and essentially enables the same processes within the body. So therefore should we ban food or make everyone eat exactly the same things? To me sport is about pushing the limits of the human body. If drugs allow you to push yourself further why not? It's still the human body. The body has to react to the introduction of foreign bodies (food or drugs). Anything which is in our environment and accessible to us should be used. We are after all products of our environment.

I also see posts from people such as Suzanne Sonye who says she did the right thing in speaking up. Why is it the right thing? Because it's against the law? Maybe the law is wrong (I think we can all agree that it is idealistic and completely unrealistic because it is obviously not working very well as is)? It seems to me that most people were told doping is cheating and cheating is bad from a very young age and therefore never actually questioned the area of doping law fully. An indoctrination of sorts. Doping need not be cheating...

In short I feel that we as the cycling community have a moral obligation to question why we automatically assume doping is bad. Under controlled environments doping could work while in an uncontrolled environment we will see more sad cases like that of Ricco. The legalisation of doping could also have an added knock on effect of increasing the speed of innovation within the medical world which would be a positive outcome for all of us.

I'm a huge fan of transparency, innovation and human progress (in all walks of life) and doping in sports in one facet which could be developed and progressed openly to the benefit of all of us.

Thoughts?
Thoughts - exactly one month ago we had a thread called "The Middle Path: make cycling easier or allow some doping" - and I remembered this comment from that thread.......

lean said:
....
every month or two someone meanders into the clinic having realised the easter bunny doesn't exist looking for a quick fix to alleviate this new anxiety they feel. they think they've cracked the case - we'll just "legalize" doping and closely monitor it, mission accomplished! ...and everytime the discussion resolves itself the same way. everyone realises drugs have always been and will continue to be "legal" to a point. it's extremely naive to think the goal of antidoping efforts is to eradicate doping in all its forms, it's not. the sporting utopia will never exist. where there's competition there will be cheating. the goal is to narrow the gap and to once again make participating drug free a realistic option. arbitrarily loosening tolerances will accomplish nothing.
.... so have a read through that thread as I'd be sure most of your arguments have already been addressed in it.
 
Aug 30, 2010
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Dr. Maserati said:
Thoughts - exactly one month ago we had a thread called "The Middle Path: make cycling easier or allow some doping" - and I remembered this comment from that thread.......


.... so have a read through that thread as I'd be sure most of your arguments have already been addressed in it.
I don't think it will... I'm asking why we think that doping is unfair? I understand all the arguments pro and against however I don't see people ever question their preconceptions. What I want to know is why not how. The above addresses how not why.
 

Dr. Maserati

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Jun 19, 2009
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alpine_chav said:
I don't think it will... I'm asking why we think that doping is unfair? I understand all the arguments pro and against however I don't see people ever question their preconceptions. What I want to know is why not how. The addresses how not why.
I am going to take a wild guess and assume that you did not read the thread I linked in 4 minutes.

The OP in that thread first addressed the "how" and moved quickly on to the "why" (or 'why nots') - as I said most of your points would be covered in it.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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You know why I think doping is unfair? Because sport isn't supposed to be fair - some athletes are simply physically superior and I'd prefer to watch a sport where I can be fairly certain that physical talent is winning out rather than the most skillful doctor. Armstrong may have won a Classic or two, he may even have come close in a GT but personally I'd rather watch the genuinely gifted athlete succeed rather than the one who takes the most sophisticated cocktail of PEDs.

And yes, I do believe there's a huge gulf between the ad hoc recovery doping of the pre EPO era and the doping arms race that was refined by the Bruyneel/Armstrong/Ferrari partnership. I believe Hinault & Merckx won because they were the most gifted riders. I find it impossible to believe the same of Armstrong and his ilk.

So my answer to your question is this - doping is unfair because it robs us of seeing true talent at work. The playing field is never level and isn't meant to be.
 
Aug 30, 2010
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Dr. Maserati said:
I am going to take a wild guess and assume that you did not read the thread I linked in 4 minutes.

The OP in that thread first addressed the "how" and moved quickly on to the "why" (or 'why nots') - as I said most of your points would be covered in it.
Sorry but I've just read the whole thread again and it barely scrapes the surface of why. For every point made the opposite could be legitimately applied.
 
Aug 30, 2010
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bianchigirl said:
You know why I think doping is unfair? Because sport isn't supposed to be fair - some athletes are simply physically superior and I'd prefer to watch a sport where I can be fairly certain that physical talent is winning out rather than the most skillful doctor. Armstrong may have won a Classic or two, he may even have come close in a GT but personally I'd rather watch the genuinely gifted athlete succeed rather than the one who takes the most sophisticated cocktail of PEDs.

And yes, I do believe there's a huge gulf between the ad hoc recovery doping of the pre EPO era and the doping arms race that was refined by the Bruyneel/Armstrong/Ferrari partnership. I believe Hinault & Merckx won because they were the most gifted riders. I find it impossible to believe the same of Armstrong and his ilk.

So my answer to your question is this - doping is unfair because it robs us of seeing true talent at work. The playing field is never level and isn't meant to be.
No it doesn't. We see the best possible performance because of doping. You need a mix of talent hard work and positive response to dope to succeed at the top level. If anything it really shows us the maximum possible outcome of talent at work. Doping doesn't guarantee success. Only one person can win at a time and there are many more people than one person doping in the elite field.

Also why is Merckx and Hinault doping any different to Lance's?
 
Aug 30, 2010
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gillan1969 said:
Because then its an arms race... and we all know what happens with arms races

MAD

are we all MAD?
It already is an arms race of sorts. Not all effects of arms races are negative. We wouldn't have space travel if it wasn't for the cold war....
 
alpine_chav said:
... To me sport is about pushing the limits of the human body. If drugs allow you to push yourself further why not? It's still the human body. The body has to react to the introduction of foreign bodies (food or drugs). Anything which is in our environment and accessible to us should be used. We are after all products of our environment...
So...

Salon.com said:
... For two weeks [Mauro] Gianetti festered in intensive care, his body fluttering on the verge of multiple-organ shutdown.

... Two-time tour winner Bernard Thevenet went to the hospital with a steroid-rotted liver.

... [Jean-François] Quinet estimates that because of EPO, as many as 80 riders died in the 1980s and '90s, their doped-up blood coagulated to stone.

... [T]he strain EPO abuse puts on an athlete's heart is horrific. Oversaturated with oxygen-carrying red blood cells, blood can become like molasses, clogging the heart until the blood stops flowing.
... Hell yeah, let's totally legalise it now!
 
Aug 30, 2010
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L'arriviste said:
So...



... Hell yeah, let's totally legalise it now!
I don't understand. They decided to dope and are now paying the price. What this has to do with the legality of doping is beyond me. I was a very promising underage rider with national titles. My brother also. Both of us decided not to go pro because we didn't want to dope (doping was illegal yet we still didn't want to go pro because of it's existence). This was and still is a decision I am happy with. No regrets. Some of my best friends have gone pro and will be / are no doubt doping as we speak. There are many other jobs one can do if you don't want to dope. Seeing as doping is illegal yet I still decided not to try go pro because of its existence shows the reality of cycling and doping. Therefore I feel your argument is invalid on many levels. If you don't want to dope you should try a different career (this applies to now with doping being illegal just as much as it would apply if doping were legal). We're only conning ourselves if we think otherwise.
 
Mar 19, 2010
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"Why is doping bad?"


Because it's cheating.



(to the OP and other posters in agreement: do you like being cheated? What about working hard, doing the right thing then someone comes and cuts the course and gets the trophy, fame, glory and money that would have gone to you. Is their ANYTHING worse than that feeling of being cheated??)


But to all of you who think doping is ok - are you guys doing the cheating on others already? Then there is nothing I can say to you. You are disgusting and I hope I never have to race against the likes of you.
 
alpine_chav said:
It already is an arms race of sorts. Not all effects of arms races are negative. We wouldn't have space travel if it wasn't for the cold war....
yeah....but the effects of this one are negative...

Young people find it hard to quantify long term costs vs short term gains...we know this. There are plenty of 'older' people who can profit from this situation...et viola...a recipie for a very unhealthy sport
 
Aug 30, 2010
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lightclimber said:
"Why is doping bad?"


Because it's cheating.



(to the OP and other posters in agreement: do you like being cheated? What about working hard, doing the right thing then someone comes and cuts the course and gets the trophy, fame, glory and money that would have gone to you. Is their ANYTHING worse than that feeling of being cheated??)


But to all of you who think doping is ok - are you guys doing the cheating on others already? Then there is nothing I can say to you. You are disgusting and I hope I never have to race against the likes of you.
Precisely why I don't bother racing anymore... and no I don't feel cheated because I accept reality. It's only cheating because it's illegal. If it was legal then it wouldn't be cheating. This is exactly what I am talking about when I mention indoctrination. Spouting rhetoric without questioning it's source or validity.
 
Aug 30, 2010
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gillan1969 said:
yeah....but the effects of this one are negative...

Young people find it hard to quantify long term costs vs short term gains...we know this. There are plenty of 'older' people who can profit from this situation...et viola...a recipie for a very unhealthy sport
It's not that I disagree with you on a base level it's just that with the current set of rules everyones fears are already reality. The current system isn't working. Legalising doping would bring with it a whole slew of other issues no doubt but how can we knock it if we haven't tried it?
 
Jun 20, 2010
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Can't for the life of me figure out your logic. Using this same line of thinking you have:

Bad For You,

People will still murder people, legalize it

Pedophile's will still pray on children, legalize it.

Should I go on?

It's wrong, illegal and immoral. End of discussion in my eyes.
 
alpine_chav said:
Precisely why I don't bother racing anymore... and no I don't feel cheated because I accept reality. It's only cheating because it's illegal. If it was legal then it wouldn't be cheating. This is exactly what I am talking about when I mention indoctrination. Spouting rhetoric without questioning it's source or validity.
Why should anyone have to risk their health to compete at the same level as someone who does?

It's the same reason you can't drink and drive. I could care less if someone drives off the road, hits a boulder and dies. If they swerve into the other lane and kill someone, that's wrong. I accept that there are irresponsible ****heads who will drink and drive, but that doesn't mean I want to legalize it, nor do I forsake road transportation b/c I'm scared.

You and I, our kids, 20 year old neo-pros should have a chance to test our innate athletic ability, our work ethic and tactical nous without having to inject steroids, EPO, other people's blood, etc.

Where do you draw the line? Should a super-talented 18 year old have to dope to keep up with "the big boys" his first year in the peloton?
 
Jul 6, 2009
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alpine_chav said:
It's not that I disagree with you on a base level it's just that with the current set of rules everyones fears are already reality. The current system isn't working. Legalising doping would bring with it a whole slew of other issues no doubt but how can we knock it if we haven't tried it?
doping was legal for decades in the early days of the tour and cycling this you should know. makes no difference except more people die here and there thats about it.
 
alpine_chav said:
It's not that I disagree with you on a base level it's just that with the current set of rules everyones fears are already reality. The current system isn't working. Legalising doping would bring with it a whole slew of other issues no doubt but how can we knock it if we haven't tried it?
its not so much the system as the culture...and you won't change that overnight

legalising doping isn't like legalising herion

i don't need to compete with a heavy heroin user to go about my everyday business

whereas a cyclist would need to dope to race against everyone else who was doping...you in effect make it mandatory
 
Aug 30, 2010
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Kodiak said:
Can't for the life of me figure out your logic. Using this same line of thinking you have:

Bad For You,

People will still murder people, legalize it

Pedophile's will still pray on children, legalize it.

Should I go on?

It's wrong, illegal and immoral. End of discussion in my eyes.
Haha.. that's ridiculous logic and not mine...

Doping helath issues - victim = the doper
Murder - victim = the murdered
Rape - victim = the rapee
 
Aug 30, 2010
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Willy_Voet said:
Why should anyone have to risk their health to compete at the same level as someone who does?

It's the same reason you can't drink and drive. I could care less if someone drives off the road, hits a boulder and dies. If they swerve into the other lane and kill someone, that's wrong. I accept that there are irresponsible ****heads who will drink and drive, but that doesn't mean I want to legalize it, nor do I forsake road transportation b/c I'm scared.

You and I, our kids, 20 year old neo-pros should have a chance to test our innate athletic ability, our work ethic and tactical nous without having to inject steroids, EPO, other people's blood, etc.

Where do you draw the line? Should a super-talented 18 year old have to dope to keep up with "the big boys" his first year in the peloton?
I don't have an answer to the final question ... all I do know is that at the moment they do. I was one of those 18 year olds and I quit because I didn't want to dope. Very simple decision and a good one at that.
 

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