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Doping: The Eighth Deadly Sin

Apparently years and years of practice, working out, training, and administration of methenolone (street name Parabolan) will allow a person to throw a shot put 70.08 feet. That’s a long ways…too long, according to the IOC. They disqualified the Belarus woman who scored that winning distance for failing a drug test twice. The silver – now gold –  medalist tossed hers 67.91 feet, just a hair over 2 feet less. That’s a difference of just a hair over 3%! What amazing gains steroid use allows!

If you detected at least a hint of sarcasm in the paragraph then you read it correctly. I’m a weightlifter, even a former competitive powerlifter. Feats of strength are in my blood, but that’s about it. I know people who have more than that in their blood. I’ve seen people bench press over 500 pounds without a bench shirt. I’ve seen people deadlift and squat 800, 900, and 1000 pounds. You don’t do that with just good looks, eating clean, and hard work. On the flip side, years of hard work AND using juice will add a little something special to your bench press, clean and jerk, squat, deadlift, 100 meter sprint, or shot put. How much? Well figure I made it up to a 405lb bench at 229lb of drug-free bodyweight. Those are pretty good genetics for being beastly strong, but in my case that’s all I had going for me was genetics and years of training. There are lifters out there able to bench 600, 700, and even 800 pounds at 220lbs of bodyweight with the help of genetics, training, and good drugs.

So figure a modest difference of 1.5x what a normal person could d0. If we take 50% and add it to the best a “drug free” person could do and you’d be looking at a shot put of 46.72 feet. But the new gold medalist tested clean and still tossed hers 67.91 feet? Could it mean the athletes and coaches know how to beat the tests? GASP!
Let’s dispense with the bullshit. Olympic and professional athletes use whatever they can to be competitive. They have to or else they’re out of a job. Cameron Van Der Burgh (South Africa) admitted to three dolphin kicks off the wall in his 100 meter breast stroke gold medal race. One is allowed. He says he knows he shouldn’t but when everybody else is doing it if he doesn’t then he’s not able to compete with them. That sums it up right there. If one guy is going to “cheat” then everybody has to if they want to remain competitive.

My suggestion is to stop the BS. You can’t expect new world records every four years without the use of assistance. Training techniques might improve but not by much. People aren’t working out harder now than they have in the past (they’ve worked out damn hard at all times). So give people what they want to see, open it up and let people be superhuman without pretending they’re really not. That’s what we want. That’s what we pay to see. This gives it the chance to be carefully regulated and safe. The only scary thing that could happen would be seeing no significant gains over existing records because of it.

And if that doesn’t work then learn a lesson from Eric Idle in the closing ceremonies and always look on the bright side of life. (the best part of the closing ceremonies, hands down)

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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