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post #73 of (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 07:17 PM
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Re: Christophe Rochus wants doping to be made legal

Originally Posted by Sophitia36 View Post
Well, strange as it may seem, I agree with him. Dunno about his accusations regarding players taking breaks, but I'm pretty sure the controls are mostly a joke and a diversion, and that people very high up make sure no one gets caught. Just as it was (and maybe as it is, still) in cycling.

No one involved in sport has an interest in revealing doping cases. And call me a pessimist, but I'm pretty sure this will never change. So, everyone says that it's "obvious" that legalizing doping is unacceptable, but I really don't see how pretending to struggle against doping is any better. What happens is that from time to time, one or two scapegoats are thrown to the dogs, in order to make the public believe that anti-doping is really working, while actually it's only a way to make sure that the others can continue in peace.

I have always had the feeling that Argentine players had been made scapegoats, possibly because their country is not as powerful as most... but I may be wrong on that, it's all speculation (but then again... my long-established belief that Armstrong and his whole team were the kings of doping was also speculation - at the time).

But who really believes this is a realistic definition of sport? Not of high level sport, it isn't. It's no secret that practising a sport at a high level is bad for your health, not good.
Sport is good for you when practised moderately. When it is practised intensively, it's not good, with or without doping.

People often act as if it's easy to decide when doping starts and when it stops. Sure, there are the rules, you can claim it starts when a practise is forbidden... But in more general terms, sportsmen all take stuff to improve their performances, vitamins, etc... When does it stop being "preparation" to start being "doping"? When they use special tents to create the confitions of high altitude, is that just a fair "preparation" practice, or is it already doping?

Of course, I know, it sounds outrageous to say that doping should be legalized. People are going to say that this amounts to saying athletes can damage their bodies as much as they want, etc...
But truly, we already know high level sport is bad. It's the same for anything that is taken to an extreme level. You could also claim that ballet should be forbidden, because ballet dancers often torture their bodies, the aesthetics of ballet encourage all sorts of eating disorders, and I've often heard doctors say that the body of a professional ballet dancer can be really traumatised and destroyed when he/she reaches the age of 30 or 40.
Marathon runners destroy their knees. Not even marathon runners only, I've read recently that Ferrer had stopped running and taken up cycling instead, because his knees were damaged by too much long-distance running. And I don't think I even need to mention Nadal's knees.

And the biggest problem with that counter-argument anyway (that it's irresponsible to advocate the legalization of doping because of the threat to the athlete's health), is that it assumes that doping is not already general. If you believe, as I do, that it is widespread anyway, in spite of the "controls"... then there would be no difference. If people are already doping, the only difference you make by making it legal is that you end the hypocrisy.

Now, if someone can come up with a system of controls that would actually work, sure, it would be better. But I don't see how this could be possible. "Independent bodies" are not really something I believe in. High level sports are a microcosm, and a "body" can remain "independent" only for so long when there's big business and a lot of power involved.
Maybe a strong system of checks and balances can be built in the future. That would require a complete restructuring of everything, probably. For now... I just wish they would end the hypocrisy. But given what usually happens to people who do try, I can understand why most people prefer to stay silent and save their careers. Maybe they would need a kind of giant "truth commission" for doping?...
tl;dr version: I was right about cycling like everyone else was, so I am right about tennis and no-one else is. If an athlete takes vitamins then they probably use PEDs. No such thing as independent organisations, may as well make doping legal.
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