July 28, 2008

Just Curious

Does anyone have faith when they watch a professional sporting event these days, the upcoming Olympics for instance, that anything you are seeing has been accomplished simply by old fashioned gumption and hard work?


  1. Daryl Scroggins on July 28th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Seems more like–plug a person into the machine; toss him or her aside and get another when that one breaks. Gumption and hard work is what gets one in line to be plugged in–then it becomes a job, with many in line eager to take your place. How to hold onto it? That’s where the pressure to use drugs comes from.

  2. Cindy Scroggins on July 28th, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I’m hopelessly naive about these things. I’m always sure it’s done by hard work and an inexhaustible will. There’s no way I will believe that Jeremy Wariner is running on anything but his own ability. I feel the same way about Michael Johnson–I’m just sure he didn’t use steroids. Of course, I was also sure that Ben Johnson’s wins over Carl Lewis were the result of some personal greatness, and I cried for a good hour when I found out he cheated.

    So, yes, Deron, I still have faith.

  3. Deron Bauman on July 28th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Cindy, I have been, until very recently, as optimistic as you. I felt the same way about each individual. I think Marion Jones admitting her use, and the fact that every serious contender to Lance Armstrong during his incredible run tested positive, as well as all the baseball shit and obvious NFL bulk, has finally caught up with me.

    I realized a week or two ago I won’t be able to watch the Olympics with the same innocence I once did.

    It really bums me out.

  4. Andrew Simone on July 28th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    In a word: no.

  5. Michael Smith on July 28th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I just watched the Tour de France and I can say that despite everything, I’m still optimistic. I do think that the sporting world can take a cue from professional cycling because despite all the recent news the fact is that dopers are being caught and punished.

    If we want drug free sports, we need to hold those in charge of the paychecks, sponsors and owners, responsible. If the owners are responsible, maybe they’ll stop looking the other way. As for the Olympics… we should ban the countries of known cheaters from competing in that sport for 8 or 12 years.

  6. Joshua Conner on July 28th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Performance-enhancing drugs don’t magically turn you into a world-class athelete. Steroids or not, these people work their asses off, usually for less money than I make per year as a waiter, and deserve some real respect for that.

  7. Sheila Ryan on July 28th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Doing whatever it takes to gain an edge isn’t necessarily a new development. Jockeys, for instance, have been using speed to get their weight down since before the days of Seabiscuit. But the stakes now are higher, hence the options are greater.

    I think the larger issue is that we twenty-first century humans are kind of schizo with respect to drugs.

  8. Steven on July 28th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Hells to the no! Guessing how they do it and spreading rumors and making controversy on the internt is all part of the fun of the sport now-a-days! :)

  9. Kris on July 28th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Joshua is right that ‘enhancements’ do not generate success in and of themselves. You still have to work. That’s always been the case, we just have more complex enhancements. In the ‘good old days’ it was generally your cruder stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines etc), now it is EPO.

    The notion that there is anything like an even playing field even without drugs is odd to me. Seriously, Australian swimmers have their training subsidised by the government, they have access to the top coaches, the top pools, new-fangled swimsuits that have been developed using millions of dollars. How does some Tongan who has worked his guts out (probably in board shorts in the ocean, there being no Olympic-sized pools in Tonga) compete with that?

    Seems to me that you don’t need drugs to have advantage. Maybe the hormones/drugs can be about redressing some disadvantage, but then again, I think that the greater the access to training/financial advantages, the greater the access to chemical enhancements.

    What does amuse me is the joy that people take in some people’s fall. Seriously, do people actually believe that Bonds is the only guy on the gear? Or that a certain cyclist can win multiple Tour de France’s (in a sport absolutely rife with chemists) NOT playing the odds?

  10. Sheila Ryan on July 28th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Yes, Kris. To practically all you say.

  11. Siera on July 30th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    The struggle of defining what constitutes an unfair advantage is pretty interesting. I hadn’t even though about it until I heard about the aspiring amputee Olympiad.