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Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 2nd 08, 11:50 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Tim Howard
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Posts: 2
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

This has been on my mind for a long time.

I feel that the drugs-in-sports issue has become a slippery slope.
First people trying to shape a "debate" have an easy target to get
people to agree with their point of view. Then they start adding other
things once their belief is accepted and it ends up going way to far.
In the case of sports, first it was anabolic steroids. Okay, we know
the bad side effects of steroids, fine. But over the years the athletic
drug ban had morphed into "performance enhancing drugs" and now into
"banned substances". With a term that vague, is anything off limits as
far as punishing athletics.

I focus on the Olympics in this post since they are about to commence,
we have heard several scandals recently, and because they seem to have
the most comprehensive (or is that extreme) policy on so-called banned
substances. I am no expert on all that constitutes the list of this
substances, and certainly do not know of all their side effects, but I
think the IOC and sports organizations like them have gotten far far
away from the original intent when they started banning steroids. What
I wonder when I hear of an athlete being punished is "is this
performance enhancing drug he/she was taking actually harmful to the
body"? If it is not harmful, and just gives the athlete some type of
advantage, should it always be banned and the athlete crucified they way
they are being treated now? Some players complain of an "unfair
advantage". Well if someone chooses not to take something unharmful
that would improve their performance, why should everyone else be forced
to do that? It kind of reminds me of that old sci-fi short story about
the society where everyone was forced to be ugly and weighted down so
the few ugly people would not feel bad about themselves. No one was
allowed to do anything to demonstrate their own greatness anymore.

Ban harmful things like steroids yes, but can the IOC show that every
single "banned substance" is harmful, and if not, then what is the
underlying motivation? Technology advances in health, medicine,
nutrition etc. just like it does in any other field. They allow
advancements in the speed and power of the machines, equipment, and
outfits. Why not in supplements, as long as they are not dangerous?
  #2  
Old August 4th 08, 02:11 AM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
DavidW
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 139
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

Tim Howard wrote:
This has been on my mind for a long time.

I feel that the drugs-in-sports issue has become a slippery slope.
First people trying to shape a "debate" have an easy target to get
people to agree with their point of view. Then they start adding
other things once their belief is accepted and it ends up going way
to far. In the case of sports, first it was anabolic steroids. Okay,
we know the bad side effects of steroids, fine. But over the years
the athletic drug ban had morphed into "performance enhancing drugs"
and now into "banned substances". With a term that vague, is
anything off limits as far as punishing athletics.

I focus on the Olympics in this post since they are about to commence,
we have heard several scandals recently, and because they seem to have
the most comprehensive (or is that extreme) policy on so-called banned
substances. I am no expert on all that constitutes the list of this
substances, and certainly do not know of all their side effects, but I
think the IOC and sports organizations like them have gotten far far
away from the original intent when they started banning steroids. What I
wonder when I hear of an athlete being punished is "is this
performance enhancing drug he/she was taking actually harmful to the
body"? If it is not harmful, and just gives the athlete some type of
advantage, should it always be banned and the athlete crucified they
way they are being treated now?


It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in any way.
Athletes should not be put in a position where they have to experiment on
themselves in order to compete.

Some players complain of an "unfair
advantage". Well if someone chooses not to take something unharmful
that would improve their performance, why should everyone else be
forced to do that? It kind of reminds me of that old sci-fi short
story about the society where everyone was forced to be ugly and
weighted down so the few ugly people would not feel bad about
themselves. No one was allowed to do anything to demonstrate their
own greatness anymore.
Ban harmful things like steroids yes, but can the IOC show that every
single "banned substance" is harmful,


They shouldn't have to. Anything could be harmful unless proven otherwise. But
first, what is the definition of "harmful"? Saturated fats provide energy and
therefore improve performance in athletic sports, but doctors will tell you they
cause long-term harm.

and if not, then what is the
underlying motivation?


It might be difficult to define precisely, but I would say there's a perception
that foods containing substances regarded as healthy (energy, vitamins,
minerals, protein, fibre etc.) are okay, or "clean", and anything that is not a
recognized food that improve performance is an unfair advantage. Basically,
athletes should not have to ingest something other than normal healthy foods to
be able to compete.

Technology advances in health, medicine,
nutrition etc. just like it does in any other field. They allow
advancements in the speed and power of the machines, equipment, and
outfits. Why not in supplements, as long as they are not dangerous?


Without examples I can't tell what kinds of substances you are referring to.


  #3  
Old August 4th 08, 08:41 AM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Robert W. McAdams
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 135
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

DavidW wrote:
Tim Howard wrote:

I feel that the drugs-in-sports issue has become a slippery slope.
First people trying to shape a "debate" have an easy target to get
people to agree with their point of view. Then they start adding
other things once their belief is accepted and it ends up going way
to far. In the case of sports, first it was anabolic steroids. Okay,
we know the bad side effects of steroids, fine. But over the years
the athletic drug ban had morphed into "performance enhancing drugs"
and now into "banned substances". With a term that vague, is
anything off limits as far as punishing athletics.

I focus on the Olympics in this post since they are about to commence,
we have heard several scandals recently, and because they seem to have
the most comprehensive (or is that extreme) policy on so-called banned
substances. I am no expert on all that constitutes the list of this
substances, and certainly do not know of all their side effects, but I
think the IOC and sports organizations like them have gotten far far
away from the original intent when they started banning steroids. What I
wonder when I hear of an athlete being punished is "is this
performance enhancing drug he/she was taking actually harmful to the
body"? If it is not harmful, and just gives the athlete some type of
advantage, should it always be banned and the athlete crucified they
way they are being treated now?



It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in any way.
Athletes should not be put in a position where they have to experiment on
themselves in order to compete.


Experimentation can occur in more ways than one. We have entered a new
era in medicine in which the emphasis is shifting to prevention rather
than treatment. Gone is the paradigm in which people go to doctors only
when they are "sick" and receive treatment only until they are "healthy"
again. Nowadays, doctors are trained to recognize risk factors which,
while they are technically not illnesses, increase the risk that a
patient will later contract an illness.

While it is true that athletes should not have to "experiment on
themselves" by taking substances to enhance their performance just to
remain competitive, it is also true that they should not have to
"experiment on themselves" by refraining from taking substances that
ordinary people are taking to combat risk factors for illness.


Bob

  #4  
Old August 4th 08, 08:39 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?



"MW Smith" wrote in message
...
On Aug 4, 2:11 am, "DavidW" wrote:

It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in any
way.
Athletes should not be put in a position where they have to experiment on
themselves in order to compete.


But athletes should not be prevented from competing by not being
allowed to experiment on themselves.

Your statement is based on the implicit assumption that without drugs,
everyone who wants to compete can compete. But that's false at the
elite level. Ultimately, you can't compete at that level unless you
have the right genes - unless you have the right drugs.

So the real effect of the ban on performance enhancing drugs is to
prevent a lot of athletes from competing.


Isn't that the point of competitive sport though? To allow those who can to
win, and those who can't to lose? Not to make everyone win by turning them
in to Frankenstein's monster.
--
Duncan Heenan


  #5  
Old August 4th 08, 11:54 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
DavidW
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 139
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 2:11 am, "DavidW" wrote:

It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in
any way. Athletes should not be put in a position where they have to
experiment on themselves in order to compete.


By 'compete' here I mean not be at an ingested-substance disadvantage. I don't
mean making up for physiological disadvantages. If you get beaten by a better
athlete, tough.

But athletes should not be prevented from competing by not being
allowed to experiment on themselves.

Your statement is based on the implicit assumption that without drugs,
everyone who wants to compete can compete.


And the way I meant it, they can. You can compete, and you will lose if you
aren't good enough.


  #6  
Old August 6th 08, 12:14 AM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
DavidW
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 139
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 2:11 am, "DavidW" wrote:


It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in
any way. Athletes should not be put in a position where they have
to experiment on themselves in order to compete.


By 'compete' here I mean not be at an ingested-substance
disadvantage. I don't mean making up for physiological
disadvantages. If you get beaten by a better athlete, tough.


I understand, but your position is opposed to the concept of the level
playing field.


No, quite the opposite. I've never heard of "level playing field" being extended
to making up for natural physiological disadvantages.

What you mean by "better athlete" is, effectively, the
athlete with the better breeding. You mean that the athlete with the
physiological advantage is the better athlete, which is not what most
people mean when they use that term. The better athlete should be the
one who puts in the most work to achieve the victory, the one who
works hardest.


No, I mean the combination. If you have natural athletic gifts you still need to
train. But, typically, dedicated athletes will do what they and their coaches
consider to be the best training possible, so it's going to come back to
breeding, determination and, for some events, tactics.

But athletes should not be prevented from competing by not being
allowed to experiment on themselves.


Your statement is based on the implicit assumption that without
drugs, everyone who wants to compete can compete.


And the way I meant it, they can. You can compete, and you will lose
if you aren't good enough.


Then by compete you simply mean "take part in the contest,"


No, I mean take part in the contest _fairly_.

which,
again isn't what most people mean by compete. It's the kind of
competing educators of the 70s and 80s meant children should do.

There is a kind of sailboat racing in which the two crews race in two
identical boats. then they trade boats and race again. That's real
sporting competition. The closest we can come to it in competitive
swimming, since we can't trade bodies, is to allow everyone to use
drugs that aid in achieving maximum physical potential.


And what drugs do you propose that they use? Steroids? EPO? HGH?

Also, why do you think that if _all_ of them take drugs the athlete with the
best genes and training won't win by just as far as before?


  #7  
Old August 6th 08, 07:58 AM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?



"MW Smith" wrote in message
...
snip
There is a kind of sailboat racing in which the two crews race in two
identical boats. then they trade boats and race again. That's real
sporting competition. The closest we can come to it in competitive
swimming, since we can't trade bodies, is to allow everyone to use
drugs that aid in achieving maximum physical potential.


Rather than allow everyone to use drugs, I'd prefer to keep the playing
field level by allowing no one to use drugs. That's better in every way.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #8  
Old August 6th 08, 08:03 AM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?



"DavidW" wrote in message
...
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 2:11 am, "DavidW" wrote:

It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in
any way. Athletes should not be put in a position where they have
to experiment on themselves in order to compete.

By 'compete' here I mean not be at an ingested-substance
disadvantage. I don't mean making up for physiological
disadvantages. If you get beaten by a better athlete, tough.


I understand, but your position is opposed to the concept of the level
playing field.


No, quite the opposite. I've never heard of "level playing field" being
extended to making up for natural physiological disadvantages.

What you mean by "better athlete" is, effectively, the
athlete with the better breeding. You mean that the athlete with the
physiological advantage is the better athlete, which is not what most
people mean when they use that term. The better athlete should be the
one who puts in the most work to achieve the victory, the one who
works hardest.


No, I mean the combination. If you have natural athletic gifts you still
need to train. But, typically, dedicated athletes will do what they and
their coaches consider to be the best training possible, so it's going to
come back to breeding, determination and, for some events, tactics.

But athletes should not be prevented from competing by not being
allowed to experiment on themselves.

Your statement is based on the implicit assumption that without
drugs, everyone who wants to compete can compete.

And the way I meant it, they can. You can compete, and you will lose
if you aren't good enough.


Then by compete you simply mean "take part in the contest,"


No, I mean take part in the contest _fairly_.

which,
again isn't what most people mean by compete. It's the kind of
competing educators of the 70s and 80s meant children should do.

There is a kind of sailboat racing in which the two crews race in two
identical boats. then they trade boats and race again. That's real
sporting competition. The closest we can come to it in competitive
swimming, since we can't trade bodies, is to allow everyone to use
drugs that aid in achieving maximum physical potential.


And what drugs do you propose that they use? Steroids? EPO? HGH?

Also, why do you think that if _all_ of them take drugs the athlete with
the best genes and training won't win by just as far as before?

Allowing drug taking is simply to allow cheating. So the competition becomes
one of who can cheat most effectively- so why bother with rules at all? If
you don't bother with rules, why bother with the competition at all? Why
bother with anything......which is the ultimate philosophy of the junkie.
I've seen enough drug abusers to know it is not a path I want to encourage
others down, or to go down myself.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #9  
Old August 6th 08, 03:15 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?




"MW Smith" wrote in message
...
On Aug 6, 8:03 am, "Duncan Heenan" wrote:
"DavidW" wrote in message

...

MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 2:11 am, "DavidW" wrote:


It is difficult to prove that a given substance is not harmful in
any way. Athletes should not be put in a position where they have
to experiment on themselves in order to compete.


By 'compete' here I mean not be at an ingested-substance
disadvantage. I don't mean making up for physiological
disadvantages. If you get beaten by a better athlete, tough.


I understand, but your position is opposed to the concept of the level
playing field.


No, quite the opposite. I've never heard of "level playing field" being
extended to making up for natural physiological disadvantages.


What you mean by "better athlete" is, effectively, the
athlete with the better breeding. You mean that the athlete with the
physiological advantage is the better athlete, which is not what most
people mean when they use that term. The better athlete should be the
one who puts in the most work to achieve the victory, the one who
works hardest.


No, I mean the combination. If you have natural athletic gifts you
still
need to train. But, typically, dedicated athletes will do what they and
their coaches consider to be the best training possible, so it's going
to
come back to breeding, determination and, for some events, tactics.


But athletes should not be prevented from competing by not being
allowed to experiment on themselves.


Your statement is based on the implicit assumption that without
drugs, everyone who wants to compete can compete.


And the way I meant it, they can. You can compete, and you will lose
if you aren't good enough.


Then by compete you simply mean "take part in the contest,"


No, I mean take part in the contest _fairly_.


which,
again isn't what most people mean by compete. It's the kind of
competing educators of the 70s and 80s meant children should do.


There is a kind of sailboat racing in which the two crews race in two
identical boats. then they trade boats and race again. That's real
sporting competition. The closest we can come to it in competitive
swimming, since we can't trade bodies, is to allow everyone to use
drugs that aid in achieving maximum physical potential.


And what drugs do you propose that they use? Steroids? EPO? HGH?


Also, why do you think that if _all_ of them take drugs the athlete
with
the best genes and training won't win by just as far as before?


Allowing drug taking is simply to allow cheating.


That's true because the rules are written the way they are. If the
rules were written to allow only one breath per 50 meters, then
everyone would be cheating in the 1500.

So the competition becomes
one of who can cheat most effectively- so why bother with rules at all?
If
you don't bother with rules, why bother with the competition at all? Why
bother with anything......which is the ultimate philosophy of the junkie.
I've seen enough drug abusers to know it is not a path I want to
encourage
others down, or to go down myself.


So you can see why your argument is absurd. You are arguing for
abandoning all competition if the rules contain a single bad rule.


No I am saying that rules are needed to regulate sport and make it
worthwhile. You seem to be saying rules are pointless because they impinge
on people without the necessary natural ability and application to win. It
is your argument which is absurd, which could be why society does have rules
for all sorts of things. Your way lies anarchy.

  #10  
Old August 6th 08, 03:17 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?




"MW Smith" wrote in message
...
On Aug 6, 7:58 am, "Duncan Heenan" wrote:
"MW Smith" wrote in message

...

snip
There is a kind of sailboat racing in which the two crews race in two
identical boats. then they trade boats and race again. That's real
sporting competition. The closest we can come to it in competitive
swimming, since we can't trade bodies, is to allow everyone to use
drugs that aid in achieving maximum physical potential.


Rather than allow everyone to use drugs, I'd prefer to keep the playing
field level by allowing no one to use drugs. That's better in every way.


But that playing field isn't level, which has already been explained.


The playing field is level, your argument applies to the players. Of course
not everyone is equal. Finding the best, under a particular set of rules is
one of the points of sport. making it in to a competition to see who can
tolerate the most steroids is hardly something worth proving.

 




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