Tuesday, 26 July 2016

So we are back to "drugs in sport"

again are we? Apparently the IOC didn't quite dare to ban the entire Russian team.
That doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I would have been surprised if they had done that. All sport is riddled with drug cheats. There wouldn't be a sport on earth where "performance enhancing" drugs have not been tried. Any athlete who has reached "Olympic level"  will have been subjected, knowingly or unknowingly, to some sort of supposedly performance enhancing substance or procedure. 
Russia is simply doing what all countries do and hope to get away with. Their attempts may have been a little more blatant than most but others are also guilty. That is probably why the IOC decided not to place a blanket ban on all Russian athletes. There will have been frantic scurrying around behind the scenes. There will have been urgent, worried meetings. "Do they know about us?" "Are you sure X  and Y and Z can keep their mouths shut?" and then, "How far do we go with the Russians?" and "Why couldn't that idiot do what he was told to do about the tests?"
It seems to me that sport is about two things, the first is "winning" and the last is about "winning and preferably about breaking a record while you win". 
I suppose aiming to win is fine. I suppose that is what "sport" is about. It's what the ancient Greeks and Spartans and Egyptians and Romans and Aztecs and Incas and more all did. They all performed physical feats for the supposed honour and glory of being "the best" or "first/fastest/highest/longest" and so on. If you didn't succeed too bad. Failure to win could even lead to death. In places like North Korea it can still lead to internment in a work camp or similar place.  But yes, aim to "win".
It is the constant pressure to break another record that seems to be the problem. If athletes didn't need to do this things might be different. We could simply line them up and see who  really is the fastest  or highest or strongest. 
But that would lack excitement wouldn't it? We wouldn't be sitting on the edge of our seats choking on potato crisps or peanuts and shouting at the telly in the hope that one of "our" athletes was not only going to win a medal but "break a record".
And, logically, there is a limit to this business of breaking records  isn't there? There is a limit even with the so-called performance enhancing drugs. Is it possible that we have reached the limits of what the human body can do without drugs, that we might even have reached that some time ago?
Perhaps this problem with drugs in sport is as much about our ridiculous expectations of athletes as it is about their abilities.  

No comments: