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



 
 
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  #11  
Old August 6th 08, 08:49 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Robert W. McAdams
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Posts: 135
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?

DavidW wrote:
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.


Well, let me give you an example:

In the late 1990s, Gary Hall, Jr. was diagnosed with Type I diabetes
mellitus. This was certainly natural, and was also a disadvantage,
since it's hard to win an Olympic medal when you're in a diabetic coma.
But he was allowed, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and in the 2008
Olympic trials, to compensate for his disadvantage by taking insulin
injections.



Bob

  #12  
Old August 6th 08, 08:57 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
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Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?



"Robert W. McAdams" wrote in message
...
DavidW wrote:
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.


Well, let me give you an example:

In the late 1990s, Gary Hall, Jr. was diagnosed with Type I diabetes
mellitus. This was certainly natural, and was also a disadvantage, since
it's hard to win an Olympic medal when you're in a diabetic coma. But he
was allowed, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and in the 2008 Olympic trials,
to compensate for his disadvantage by taking insulin injections.
Bob

Bad example. A type one diabetic is not 'enhancing their performance' with
insulin, they are staying alive. Without insulin they would die, it is as
simple as that. Taking insulin does not make them swim any better than
someone with a normal pancreas who does not need insulin. it is not a
performance enhancer.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #13  
Old August 6th 08, 08:58 PM posted to rec.sport.olympics,rec.sport.swimming,rec.sport.triathlon,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.politics.media
Duncan Heenan
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Posts: 372
Default Olympics--Are all "performance enhancing drugs" harmful?




wrote in message
...
On Aug 5, 5:14 pm, "DavidW" wrote:

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


Not in swimming, but it happens all the time in handicapped horse
racing. The faster horses are made to carry extra weight, in an
attempt to slow them down. The purpose is not to make a better race,
nor even a fairer race (whatever that means), but to encourage more
gambling.

It also happens in children's playground races. Smaller or slower
children are often given a head start. The purpose is again not to
make a fairer race (even though it's often discussed with such terms)
but to encourage more participation.

Neither of these cases seem to apply to Olympic swimming, though.


Ross

In the UK at least, weights are only added to horses saddle pockets to even
up the weights of the jockeys in handicapped races.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #14  
Old August 7th 08, 12:19 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 6, 12:14 am, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
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.


Yes you have, if you are in the US. Title IX. But you missed the
point. Allowing drugs doesn't _extend_ the level playing field,
because the playing field is not level. Allowing drugs _levels_ the
playing field.


What I had in mind was, for example, a swimming race or a foot race for
able-bodied athletes. The whole point of such competitions is to find the best
natural swimmer or runner. Most spectators don't want a Michael Phelps or an Ian
Thorpe to be brought back to the field by artificial means. They don't consider
the varying abilities of athletes in such events as being within the realm of
"level playing field".

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.


I agree, but the breeding component makes the playing field unlevel.
Drugs nullify some of the breeding component and thereby have a
leveling effect.

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


No, I mean take part in the contest _fairly_.


But _fairly_ means according to _fair_ rules, and fair rules don't
give an advantage to a subset of competitors.


Okay, suppose we do this. In your perfect world all competitors in a race have
had their abilities perfectly evened up by drugs. So a swimming race becomes
either an 8-way dead heat or a complete lottery as far as predicting the result
is concerned. What would be the point? What exactly is the race intended to
test? As a spectator, I want to see if a Thorpe can break another WR, or a
Phelps can win eight Olympic gold medals. I don't want races in which the
results are essentially a throw of the dice.

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?


That's a separate question, but I don't see a need to specify the set
of drugs. On the other hand, it would certainly solve most of the
problem at this point to simply allow EPO.


Which is dangerous. You want athletes to be forced to risk their lives to have a
chance of winning?

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?


Ultimately he might, but his advantage due to breeding would be
minimized, and the other components, training, attitude, effort, etc,
would be maximized.


Evidence?


  #15  
Old August 7th 08, 03:11 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?

Duncan Heenan wrote:


"Robert W. McAdams" wrote in message
...

DavidW wrote:

MW Smith wrote:

On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:


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.



Well, let me give you an example:

In the late 1990s, Gary Hall, Jr. was diagnosed with Type I diabetes
mellitus. This was certainly natural, and was also a disadvantage,
since it's hard to win an Olympic medal when you're in a diabetic
coma. But he was allowed, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and in the
2008 Olympic trials, to compensate for his disadvantage by taking
insulin injections.
Bob

Bad example. A type one diabetic is not 'enhancing their performance'
with insulin, they are staying alive. Without insulin they would die, it
is as simple as that. Taking insulin does not make them swim any better
than someone with a normal pancreas who does not need insulin. it is not
a performance enhancer.


If insulin is not a performance enhancing substance, then why is it on
the banned list? If it is a performance enhancing subtance, then how
can you be sure a Type I diabetic is not enhancing their performance by
using it?

But if your objection is that a Type I diabetic will die without it,
then what about a Type II diabetic who requires insulin to keep their
blood sugar at normal levels. If their blood sugar, without insulin, is
only somewhat high, they will probably not die without it (at least not
right away, though perhaps in the long run due to cardiovascular
problems). Should they be permitted to use it?

And what about an athlete with stage I hypertension who treats it with a
diuretic or beta blocker? They will probably not die anytime soon
without the drug if their hypertension is only stage I, but their
prognosis will be impaired. Should that be allowed? (Beta blockers,
btw, are only banned for certain sports, but assume for the sake of
argument that they are participating in one of those sports.) Again,
don't try to argue that the drug won't enhance performance, because if
that were true, why would it be on the banned list?

Of what if an athlete has low serum levels of DHEA (which is the case
for virtually everyone over the age of 40). Should they be allowed to
take DHEA supplements to bring their levels back up to normal? They
aren't likely to die anytime soon if they don't, but there are studies
suggesting that their health could be impaired in the long term if they
don't.


Bob

  #16  
Old August 7th 08, 12:46 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?




"Robert W. McAdams" wrote in message
...
Duncan Heenan wrote:


"Robert W. McAdams" wrote in message
...

DavidW wrote:

MW Smith wrote:

On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:


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.


Well, let me give you an example:

In the late 1990s, Gary Hall, Jr. was diagnosed with Type I diabetes
mellitus. This was certainly natural, and was also a disadvantage,
since it's hard to win an Olympic medal when you're in a diabetic coma.
But he was allowed, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and in the 2008
Olympic trials, to compensate for his disadvantage by taking insulin
injections.
Bob

Bad example. A type one diabetic is not 'enhancing their performance'
with insulin, they are staying alive. Without insulin they would die, it
is as simple as that. Taking insulin does not make them swim any better
than someone with a normal pancreas who does not need insulin. it is not
a performance enhancer.


If insulin is not a performance enhancing substance, then why is it on the
banned list? If it is a performance enhancing subtance, then how can you
be sure a Type I diabetic is not enhancing their performance by using it?

But if your objection is that a Type I diabetic will die without it, then
what about a Type II diabetic who requires insulin to keep their blood
sugar at normal levels. If their blood sugar, without insulin, is only
somewhat high, they will probably not die without it (at least not right
away, though perhaps in the long run due to cardiovascular problems).
Should they be permitted to use it?

And what about an athlete with stage I hypertension who treats it with a
diuretic or beta blocker? They will probably not die anytime soon without
the drug if their hypertension is only stage I, but their prognosis will
be impaired. Should that be allowed? (Beta blockers, btw, are only
banned for certain sports, but assume for the sake of argument that they
are participating in one of those sports.) Again, don't try to argue that
the drug won't enhance performance, because if that were true, why would
it be on the banned list?

Of what if an athlete has low serum levels of DHEA (which is the case for
virtually everyone over the age of 40). Should they be allowed to take
DHEA supplements to bring their levels back up to normal? They aren't
likely to die anytime soon if they don't, but there are studies suggesting
that their health could be impaired in the long term if they don't.


Bob


Drugs go on the banned list if their ABUSE can affect performance. Correct
use of medically necessary drugs is intended to return patients to the
normal range, not make them supernormal. Caffeine is also on the banned
list, if in sufficient quantities, as are all sorts of naturally occurring
body chemicals. Only an idiot would say that athletes should not be allowed
a normal intake of coffee, but doping up on it abnormally is what is wrong.
Where to draw the line of normality is a tricky issue and one only impartial
medical professionals should decide.
If you want to level the playing field with drugs, how about doping those
with good natural ability so they don't excel? It's a daft idea, but the
logical corollary of allowing under-performers to use enhancing drugs in the
name of a level playing field.
It's no good trying to justify cheating. It is still cheating, and that's
not what sport is for.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #17  
Old August 7th 08, 06:43 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, 3:17 pm, "Duncan Heenan" wrote:

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.


Well then let's prohibit performance enhancing food. It is the fact
that not everyone is genetically equal that is the problem now. It
wasn't a problem in sport 100 years ago, because everyone was
performing so far from their own, individual biological limits. Every
athlete could improve beyond the best of the day. That is no longer
true in swimming and athletics. The top swimmers are no longer the
top swimmers because they won their way to the top. They are the top
swimmers because of their breeding.

What rot! Name some Champion swimmers whose parents were also Champion
swimmers, and show a statistical correlation.
--
Duncan Heenan

  #18  
Old August 7th 08, 09:59 PM 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?

Nelson wrote:
If a drug is not harmfull, than we call it vitamin supplement and we
buy it at the groceries.


I hope you don't believe that there are no banned substances sold at
your local grocery store!


Bob

  #19  
Old August 8th 08, 11:34 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
...
On Aug 7, 6:43 pm, "Duncan Heenan" wrote:
"MW Smith" wrote in message

...

On Aug 6, 3:17 pm, "Duncan Heenan" wrote:


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.


Well then let's prohibit performance enhancing food. It is the fact
that not everyone is genetically equal that is the problem now. It
wasn't a problem in sport 100 years ago, because everyone was
performing so far from their own, individual biological limits. Every
athlete could improve beyond the best of the day. That is no longer
true in swimming and athletics. The top swimmers are no longer the
top swimmers because they won their way to the top. They are the top
swimmers because of their breeding.


What rot! Name some Champion swimmers whose parents were also Champion
swimmers, and show a statistical correlation.
--
Duncan Heenan


First, your demand for names of swimmers whose parents were champion
swimmers is a red herring, because I didn't claim it was a
requirement. Nevertheless, if I had the names and parental histories
of all elite swimmers for the last 50 years, I'm sure there would be a
positive correlation with the athletic ability of their parents. Or do
you really want to claim that dog, horse, and cattle breeding doesn't
work?


In other words you have absolutely no evidence to back up your ourlandish
claim. Face it MW, you're making it up.
Selective breeding may work, but you claimed it IS the reason why people are
chmpions, I quote you..... " The top swimmers are no longer the
top swimmers because they won their way to the top. They are the top
swimmers because of their breeding."


That statement is plainly crap. And now you've admitted it.

  #20  
Old August 9th 08, 02:24 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 7, 12:19 am, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 6, 12:14 am, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
On Aug 4, 11:54 pm, "DavidW" wrote:
MW Smith wrote:
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.


Yes you have, if you are in the US. Title IX. But you missed the
point. Allowing drugs doesn't _extend_ the level playing field,
because the playing field is not level. Allowing drugs _levels_ the
playing field.


What I had in mind was, for example, a swimming race or a foot race
for able-bodied athletes. The whole point of such competitions is to
find the best natural swimmer or runner. Most spectators don't want
a Michael Phelps or an Ian Thorpe to be brought back to the field by
artificial means. They don't consider the varying abilities of
athletes in such events as being within the realm of "level playing
field".


Go to Adelaide, South Australia. There the masters open water races
are often handicap races.


Then they are of no interest to me.

But _fairly_ means according to _fair_ rules, and fair rules don't
give an advantage to a subset of competitors.


So a swimming race becomes
either an 8-way dead heat or a complete lottery as far as predicting
the result is concerned. What would be the point? What exactly is
the race intended to test? As a spectator, I want to see if a Thorpe
can break another WR, or a Phelps can win eight Olympic gold medals.
I don't want races in which the results are essentially a throw of
the dice.


Nor do I, but there are telling points here. You want to see Thorpe
break a world record. That has nothing to do with determining the
winner of a competition. And you want to see Phelps win all his races.
Winning one race really doesn't impress you.


Yes it does. You've missed the point, which is that I appreciate outstanding
natural talent and athletic ability where it exists, but it's not a
requirement. If there isn't a Phelps or Thorpe towering over the rest of the
field in a particular race and it's close, that's great too.

And nowhere do you
mention that these achievements will not impress you if the swimmer
used some performance enhancing substance somewhere along the way.


Then I'll mention it now.

Because they _would_ impress you, just as much,


No, they wouldn't. The race would no longer be a contest of natural athleticism
and technique and would therefore be pointless.

but you have been
indoctrinated to say they would be meaningless if the swimmer used EPO
to be able to swim 70,000 meters a week.


No, I haven't been indoctrinated to say anything. I've considered the issue and
given my own view. A race is a test of natural abilities. That's why I watch.

That's a separate question, but I don't see a need to specify the
set of drugs. On the other hand, it would certainly solve most of
the problem at this point to simply allow EPO.


Which is dangerous. You want athletes to be forced to risk their
lives to have a chance of winning?


No, if it were dangerous, we would see athletes dropping dead all over
the world.


A stupid statement. There's a continuum between no risk by not taking any and
"athletes dropping dead all over the world". EPO thickens the blood and
increases the risk of a heart attack, so it's likely that _some_ athletes would
die early.

We don't see that. So even using EPO without the advice of
a doctor is apparently safe. If it were made legal, it would become
even safer because doctors would manage it and drug companies would
test it for that purpose.

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?


Ultimately he might, but his advantage due to breeding would be
minimized, and the other components, training, attitude, effort,
etc, would be maximized.


Evidence?


Improvements in swimming world record are not linear.


That just means that comparisons of times should not be done linearly.
Obviously, taking one second off a 1-minute WR is more impressive than taking
one second off a 2-minute WR. The shorter the race time, the smaller the margin
by which it can be improved. You haven't demonstrated that, as a proportion of
race time, the best natural swimmer would not win by as far with EPO as without
it.



 




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