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August 13, 2004

Say It Loud, I'm Juiced And I'm Proud!

After (what seemed like) long and (in my opinion) deep consideration of the issue, I've decided I don't care whether or not Olympic athletes are taking performing enhancing drugs or not. If a shot putter wants to juice himself up with a designer drug he thinks will allow him to toss the ball another foot, more power to him. It's not like it affects me directly, aside from the fact that, given the choice between seeing a televised iron sphere thrown kinda far or really far, I'll choose really far, assuming that I happen to be watching at that particular moment. Besides, it's not like the IOC has been able to do anything about the issue other than catch a few of the more unlucky cheaters each year.

Slate's Josh Levin has proposed a handicapping system (shouldn't that be a "differently enabled" system?) whereby athletes would be allowed to take whichever drugs they like, but like horses, be caused to carry different weights depending on what they are found to be taken. It's a mostly tongue in cheek suggestion, but even if it were adopted the temptation to cheat would remain. After all, a drug-enhanced run without ankle weights is still preferable to one with ankle weights.

Right now the Olympic Games are seen as, rightly or wrongly, a kind of drug test Russian roulette, a contest in which is understood that most of the top athletes are pulling the trigger, but only a few are facing the consequences. No test that the IOC can devise is going to stop this behavior, because there are million of dollars in incentives awaiting those who successfully evade the urinalysis bullet. What the IOC needs is not the disincentives of testing more thoroughly and more often, but an incentive that will encourage Olympic contestants to admit that they are juicing themselves up.

The best way to do that is to reward them. Don't establish up a handicapping system. Establish instead a second set of medals. Test everyone, and then award gold silver and bronze to the top three clean athletes as well as the top three "augmented" ones. The clean winners can go on to earn millions of dollars by appearing on a Wheaties box, and the augments can earn millions of dollars as spokesmen for pharmaceutical companies.

"Hi, I'm Olympic gold medallist Torri Edwards, and I'm here to tell you that if Nikethamide puts an extra spring in my step, it'll do wonders for you! Ask your doctor about it today!"

Don't tell me pharm companies won't jump at the chance. These are the same tasteful folks that have littered the airwaves with penis enhancement commercials, until it seems like every major athlete over a certain age can't get it up even with the help of Erosblog, a team of nubile virgins and a gallon of Astroglide--not that it has anything to do with the steroids, mind you.

Posted by Bigwig at August 13, 2004 02:42 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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