And the Winner Is...the Cheater

Shame! That should be the response to sports figures who lobby for legalizing performance-enhancing drugs.

Debate grew during drug-testing battles surrounding recent Olympics. It arose again this summer during the Tour de France and after the disqualification of Irish swimming champ Michelle Smith de Bruin.

The central arguments of commentators and a minority of sports officials are: (1) Steroids are just technological improvements, like a fiberglass pole for vaulters or titanium rackets and club heads for tennis and golf competitors. (2) You can't prevent "progress."

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Argument (1) asserts that all competitors simultaneously move up a notch when fiberglas poles become available, and implies the same is true of drugs. The competition would remain fair because everyone gains equally. Nonsense. Do drug proponents seriously assert that all athletes should take steroids, endangering their well-being, in order that a sport can continue to appear fair? Does the level playing field have to become a playing field with equal danger to all?

Argument (2) implies that international sports bodies are helpless to set any rules at all if some change is labelled "progress." Why not let Olympic boxers wear brass knuckles because new graphite technology molds them to be part of the hand? Why not allow basketball players to use butterfly nets to block shots on basket?

Mark Twain would love it: Politically correct pedants sternly warning people not to eat fat or sucrose - but to get with it and down some steroids.

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