Sports and performance enhancing drugs

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Postby piqaboo » Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:17 pm

You could try Sting caffeine gum from Japan.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby BenODen » Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:23 pm

I imagine there'd be some sort of injection available someplace... Probably the only way to OD on caffeine though.
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Postby jamiebk » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:51 am

Artagel wrote:I imagine there'd be some sort of injection available someplace... Probably the only way to OD on caffeine though.


You can buy caffeine in tablets at any drug store (OTC), and there are a number of deaths reported from intentional (usually) overdosing.

Each tablet is usually 200mg, which is equivelent to a cup or two of coffee. The lowest reported lethal dose for caffeine is 3200mg. That's a few as 16 tablets. A lot of this depends on absorbtion rates...it takes time for the body to absorb caffeine and it is also being flushed from the body at certain rates. At any rate, a tab or two (in place of coffee or tea) probably won't hurt, but with as many products as we have today that contain caffeine, it would be easy to get too much. I have a bottle of caffeine tabs in my desk drawer and take one or two now and again (usually if I miss my morning beverage). It's amazing that there is so little warning information on the bottle about overdose potential.
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Postby Andy Warton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:16 pm

barfle wrote:There are several problems with performance enhancing drugs in sports, and I don't feel that gaining a competitive advantage is necessarily among them.


I think a lot of people don't get this; maybe you have to have been an athlete... or just really competitive.... :roll: But surely it's obvious how unfair it is for Mr A to train for years and years, only to be surpassed by Mr X, who got a "lucky shot"? :wink:

You acknowledge that there's a "situation" - but I think this is more serious, especially when you remember that there are cheaters out there who haven't been caught, who are winning prizes that belong to other people. It's like having someone cheat in an exam to get ahead - surely there's no difference in the dastardliness of it?

As for the health of people who are willing to cheat athletes who have trained fair and square for years of what's rightfully theirs... I can't bring myself to care. They bring it on themselves. My only reservation is that all athletes should be made aware of the risks of these drugs, all side-effects, so they know what they're getting into (the better to punish them with :wink: ).
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Postby Serenity » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:25 pm

One word: Karma..... :flex:
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Postby barfle » Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:46 am

Andy Wharton wrote:there are cheaters out there who haven't been caught, who are winning prizes that belong to other people

If a rule is unenforceable, it's clearly not a good rule.

Perhaps the drug scandals will put an end to competitive sport, but I doubt it. There are always going to be people who try to find a way around or through the rules. Some of them will risk disqualification or injury in the process. But those things happen to those who do follow the rules, too.

Maybe athletes will have to forego any sense of privacy for several months before their competition, with all their intake of food and drink monitored by the sanctioning body. No chance for a pill or an injection, and if you want to play the game, this is what's going to be required of you. And maybe even then there will be a way to get around the rule.

I don't care about drug-enhanced athletes, either. But then I don't care very much for the ones who aren't drug-enhanced. Seriously, what's the importance of being able to put a ball through a hoop better than anyone else? There's a lot of money in it, but none of mine, at least deliberately.

The Giants were in DC recently, and the papers made a big deal of the fact that Barry Bonds (who we're about 90% certain has been taking steroids for about as long as he's been eating solid foods) was making his last appearance of the year. I honestly couldn't care less about Barry Bonds, except that he's one more blemish on major league sports, which is a shame.

Would the same standards apply to musicians? I hear stories of people performing while totally blotto on the intoxicant of their choice, and getting standing ovations. They may not be competing at the moment, but their environment is quite competitive.
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Postby Shapley » Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:29 am

Jazz music and nicotene are nearly inseperable.
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Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:34 am

According to Bill Hicks, all the great rock music was composed by people who were "real f!@#%@! high"

I'm sad for Floyd Landis. He's a "local" boy. I grew up next door to his Dad's cousin. I was cheering along with everyone else when he made up the 8 minute deficit. I guess I'm not surprised, though, when I recall the results of a survey of Olympic athletes that reported that many of them would take a pill that guaranteed a victory, even if it meant premature death would follow. That kind of drive to win is found rarely in man, but found often in world champions.
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Postby Andy Warton » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:17 pm

:rant: Warning: incoming rant. Risk of offense: mderate to high. I apologise in advance.

barfle wrote:If a rule is unenforceable, it's clearly not a good rule.


This response astounds and worries me: apart from the fact that no law is 100% enforceable, surely you must see that, simply because people get away with things, doesn't mean we need no longer have the rules that make it hard/impossible for others to do the same?


barfle wrote: Perhaps the drug scandals will put an end to competitive sport, but I doubt it. There are always going to be people who try to find a way around or through the rules.


Simply because people sometimes get away with things which are wrong, does that mean it's any less wrong to do it? Does that mean we should accommodate our rules - in other words, accommodate our morality - for those who can't be bothered to obey the rules?

barfle wrote: Some of them will risk disqualification or injury in the process. But those things happen to those who do follow the rules, too.


Risk of disqualification despite following the rules?? And risking injury despite following the rules is hardly the same as bringing harm on yourself by doing something that is, in any case, wrong.

barfle wrote: Maybe athletes will have to forego any sense of privacy for several months before their competition, with all their intake of food and drink monitored by the sanctioning body. No chance for a pill or an injection, and if you want to play the game, this is what's going to be required of you. And maybe even then there will be a way to get around the rule.


Doping is inevitable. Morality is sacrosanct - or should be. Nobody's saying we ought to go to such extreme lengths - ever - to stop doping. But you don't even seem to recognise how unfair doping is.

barfle wrote: I don't care about drug-enhanced athletes, either. But then I don't care very much for the ones who aren't drug-enhanced. Seriously, what's the importance of being able to put a ball through a hoop better than anyone else? There's a lot of money in it, but none of mine, at least deliberately.


If you don't empathise with the tragedy of having your life's work trashed by someone who cheated, perhaps you'll empathise with the idea of being cheated out of a job you were perfectly qualified for, by a moron who happened to know the boss from university. Or not being allowed to adopt a child because another couple paid the social worker. You may not care about sport, and I respect that. What shocks me is that you don't seem to recognise the importance of reasonable steps to ensure fair play.

barfle wrote:Would the same standards apply to musicians?


Yes, but not in a concert; that environment is not quite the same. That's pressure, but of a different kind.

barfle wrote:Andy Wharton

If that was my real name, I would be soooo offended. :!:

Again, hope I haven't offended... much... :)
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Postby Nicole Marie » Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:41 pm

Andy Warton wrote:
barfle wrote:Would the same standards apply to musicians?


Yes, but not in a concert; that environment is not quite the same. That's pressure, but of a different kind.[quote]

Can you further explain this please?
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Postby barfle » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:10 pm

Andy Warton wrote:surely you must see that, simply because people get away with things, doesn't mean we need no longer have the rules that make it hard/impossible for others to do the same?


Andy, please note that there is a huge difference between an unenforccable rule and one that isn't 100% enforceable.

Andy Warton wrote:Simply because people sometimes get away with things which are wrong, does that mean it's any less wrong to do it?

Where in the world did you get that from?

Andy Warton wrote:Risk of disqualification despite following the rules??

OK, testing the limits of the rules, how about that? And I've seen plenty of bad calls in lots of sports, resulting in players being removed from contests.

Andy Warton wrote:And risking injury despite following the rules is hardly the same as bringing harm on yourself by doing something that is, in any case, wrong.

I remember a case that was on Sixty Minutes several years back where a running back for Dallas was complaining about drug use by others, but he refused to wear a lot of the padding required by the rules because they slowed him down. Exactly how is this different?

Andy Warton wrote:Doping is inevitable.

So what are you proposing? Nothing that I can see except more of the same failed policies. At least my idea is workable, particularly seeing how much money is involved.

Andy Warton wrote:But you don't even seem to recognise how unfair doping is.

I do recognize how unfair it is, but it seems you don't realize how busted the system is for preventing it. Even so, it wouldn't make any difference what drugs I took, I couldn't qualify for the US Olympic 100 meter run.

Andy Warton wrote:If you don't empathise with the tragedy of having your life's work trashed by someone who cheated, perhaps you'll empathise with the idea of being cheated out of a job you were perfectly qualified for, by a moron who happened to know the boss from university.

I recognize the right of a private employer to chose the qualifications he feels are going to best benefit his company. But that's a different story completely. Again, you just seem to feel that more of the same failed program is going to give better results. I don't.

Andy Warton wrote:What shocks me is that you don't seem to recognise the importance of reasonable steps to ensure fair play.

I don't see that you've proposed any "reasonable steps to ensure fair play." I have come up with two.

Andy Warton wrote:Yes, but not in a concert; that environment is not quite the same.

Let me rephrase. Is it fair to have another composer's work sell more than yours when he only seems to be inspired when he's loaded?

Andy Warton wrote:If that was my real name, I would be soooo offended.

Kind of looks like you are anyway.

Andy whatsisname wrote:Again, hope I haven't offended... much...

Nah, you have to make fun of my screen name for that to happen. :mrgreen:
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Postby OperaTenor » Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:50 pm

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:surely you must see that, simply because people get
Nah, you have to make fun of my screen name for that to happen. :mrgreen:


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Postby Andy Warton » Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:48 am

Nicole Marie wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:
barfle wrote:Would the same standards apply to musicians?


Yes, but not in a concert; that environment is not quite the same. That's pressure, but of a different kind.


Can you further explain this please?


Barfle suggested that a musician using drugs to enhance his performance is comparable to an athlete using drugs to enhance his performance. I think that's a fair point in competitions, say (or when considering how much music a composer sells....) but not in a concert. I'd class that as nerve-wrecking, but not exactly competitive.
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Postby Andy Warton » Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:41 am

barfle wrote: Andy, please note that there is a huge difference between an unenforccable rule and one that isn't 100% enforceable.


I do: but I got the impression that you were saying that the anti-doping laws are unenforceable. I don't think they are; they're not completely enforcable (no law is) but I think it's a bit extreme to call them completely unenforceable.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:Simply because people sometimes get away with things which are wrong, does that mean it's any less wrong to do it?

Where in the world did you get that from?


I got the impression that you thought that, if we can't stop doping, it should be allowed, and thus is morally OK. I do recognise your point, now - you're saying that we can allow some things (e.g. adultery) simply because we can't stop them? That's seems sensible in some cases. But it's different with sport; as you say, you don't care about athletics so this is something we'll just have to agree to disagree on. But the theory of which rules to use is different here: this isn't like, say, marriage, an institution which is entirely self-sufficient and independent of the morality of others - for example, the infidelities of Mr X have no bearing on the marriage of Mr and Mrs Y. In sport, if everybody isn't made to play fair (or rather, if we don't even try to make everyone play fair) there simply isn't any point. We can't stop cheating; but I maintain that the current system of testing (which, by the way, will continue to advance and develop, even if not always at the speed of doping chemists) is the only way to maintain any scraps of dignity in sport.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:Risk of disqualification despite following the rules??

OK, testing the limits of the rules, how about that? And I've seen plenty of bad calls in lots of sports, resulting in players being removed from contests.


We don't live in a morally perfect world, or a practically perfect world. In spite of that - or rather, because of that - we must try to do so, we must strvie for perfection. We try to improve these things (such as by using electric clocks and photo-finishes); and as for players being disqualified, could you give an example?

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:And risking injury despite following the rules is hardly the same as bringing harm on yourself by doing something that is, in any case, wrong.

I remember a case that was on Sixty Minutes several years back where a running back for Dallas was complaining about drug use by others, but he refused to wear a lot of the padding required by the rules because they slowed him down. Exactly how is this different?


This man's decision doesn't harm anyone else, or detract from their experience, like doping does. It may be unwise, but it isn't morally wrong, like doping is. He has the moral right to do it.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:Doping is inevitable.

So what are you proposing? Nothing that I can see except more of the same failed policies. At least my idea is workable, particularly seeing how much money is involved.


I propse we keep going as we are, using testing and bans (which I think should be be harsher in any case), and using more and more advanced methods of detection to stop cheaters. I don't think that there's any point in allowing everyone to use drugs. What's the point in that? How would that even qualify as a sport? Sure it may be cheaper, but I for one would rather pay £10 for half-workable laws that make things worth doing (in my opinion, obviously not in yours) than pay £1 for something not at all worth doing.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:But you don't even seem to recognise how unfair doping is.

I do recognize how unfair it is, but it seems you don't realize how busted the system is for preventing it.


Fair point. I agree: people get away with doping; but however bad sport is now, a system where doping is allowed can only be worse. That says to me, "you can leave your integrity at home - just bring your chemist." Why bother? Better half worth it, than not worth it at all.

barfle wrote:Even so, it wouldn't make any difference what drugs I took, I couldn't qualify for the US Olympic 100 meter run.


:?: I don't quite see how this is relevant... :?:

barfle wrote:I recognize the right of a private employer to chose the qualifications he feels are going to best benefit his company. But that's a different story completely. Again, you just seem to feel that more of the same failed program is going to give better results.


I don't think they are so different. In any case, I think you've misunderstood me: I acknowledge the state of doping in sport today; I simply think that this is the lesser of two evils. Better we try to maintain some integrity in sport, than abandon it altogether.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:Yes, but not in a concert; that environment is not quite the same.

Let me rephrase. Is it fair to have another composer's work sell more than yours when he only seems to be inspired when he's loaded?


No. But in sport, it's all about the competition; in music, that's just a part of it. Unless "clean" composer A starves because stoned composer B's stolen all his fans/customers, you simply can't compare the two. How much a composer sells (especially during their life-time) is not necessarily an accurate measure of their relative talent and never will be; the indivudual is left to judge the composer's talent on their own (and to pass any judgement on whether they'd be that good if they were "clean") - how many "minor" composers do you know, that you love more than the "big players"? You can't say the same for a competitive sport, wherein competitions are the only measure of their relative talent. I don't think musicians should be allowed, for example, to enter music competitions while under the influence; but otherwise, I don't think you can compare the two.

barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:If that was my real name, I would be soooo offended.

Kind of looks like you are anyway.

:wink:
OMG, I sooooo am not!
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Postby barfle » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:37 pm

Andy: I think it's a bit extreme to call them completely unenforceable.

barfle: The issue that I see is that doping will continue to grow in its subtlety, unless there's a dead certain way to prevent it, such as the monitoring of all intake and outgo for a specific period before a contest. And maybe that won't work, either. So I don't believe it's enforceable.
:arrow: ---------------------
Andy: I got the impression that you thought that, if we can't stop doping, it should be allowed, and thus is morally OK.

barfle: There is no "morality" in sport, there is either following the rules or breaking them, or maybe just seeing how hard you can lean on them.
:arrow: ---------------------
Andy: In sport, if everybody isn't made to play fair (or rather, if we don't even try to make everyone play fair) there simply isn't any point.

barfle: I agree, which is why unenforceable rules penalize those who follow them.
:arrow: ---------------------
Andy: We try to improve these things (such as by using electric clocks and photo-finishes)

barfle: And we also depend on human referees in many sports without instant replay. Like baseball, last time I checked.
:arrow: -----------------------
Andy: as for players being disqualified, could you give an example?

barfle: I recall a soccer match I went to, where the acting was far better than the playing, resulting in a player receiving a red card. There was no contact, but one player fell down and rolled over several times, and the innocent player was ejected.
:arrow: -----------------------
Andy: This man's decision doesn't harm anyone else

barfle: It most certainly does, because he enhanced his performance by breaking the rules requiring him to wear (and carry around the field while running) protective gear.
:arrow: -----------------------
Andy: He has the moral right to do it.

barfle: It's a violation of the rules. If you consider that moral, we have far deeper issues to discuss.
:arrow: ------------------------
Andy: I don't think that there's any point in allowing everyone to use drugs. What's the point in that? How would that even qualify as a sport?

barfle: If you're going to play at enforcement, the sport is gone already. I'm not schooled enough in physiology to know whether or not the tests are 100% accurate, but my experience in other fields tells me that it's unlikely. I know Mary Decker Slaney failed a drug test, spent several years trying to prove her innocence and eventually prevailed, so it appears that false positives happen, too. And if you think doping is unfair, how about being DQd for a false positive?
:arrow: ------------------------
Andy: That says to me, "you can leave your integrity at home - just bring your chemist."

barfle: So an enhanced training method, derived from scientific principles, is fair. So an enhanced nutrition method, derived from scientific principles from it is fair. So an enhanced shoe, derived from scientific principles, is fair. Do you need more examples of how a scientist can provide an athlete with an advantage over his competition?
:arrow: ------------------------
Andy: I don't quite see how this is relevant...

barfle: It takes more than drugs to be a top performing athlete. Drugs alone won't make you a champion. You need to have the talent in the first place.
:arrow: -------------------------
Andy: Better we try to maintain some integrity in sport, than abandon it altogether.

barfle: Again, the point I'm making is that the existing methods are ineffective. We would be better off without them.
:arrow: --------------------------
Andy: in sport, it's all about the competition; in music, that's just a part of it.

barfle: Read a little of Brian Wilson's thoughts on the Beatles.
:arrow: --------------------------
Andy: You can't say the same for a competitive sport, wherein competitions are the only measure of their relative talent.

barfle: I've seen plenty of major league players with far less hustle than minor leaguers, and for my money, the hustle counts as what's entertaining about the sports. I've seen plenty of excellent races for fourth or fifth, when the winner wasn't interesting at all.
:arrow: -------------------------
Andy: OMG, I sooooo am not!

barfle: My apologies
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:39 pm

barfle wrote:barfle wrote:
Andy Warton wrote:
And risking injury despite following the rules is hardly the same as bringing harm on yourself by doing something that is, in any case, wrong.

I remember a case that was on Sixty Minutes several years back where a running back for Dallas was complaining about drug use by others, but he refused to wear a lot of the padding required by the rules because they slowed him down. Exactly how is this different?


This man's decision doesn't harm anyone else, or detract from their experience, like doping does. It may be unwise, but it isn't morally wrong, like doping is. He has the moral right to do it.


No he doesnt. The rule is - wear the pads. If the pads slow folks down, and he doesnt wear the pads, he is taking an unfair advantage directly analogous to doping.

Re music - composers create and write down a permanent record. Doesnt matter if stoned, insane, happy, healthy or otherwise. We dont have rules for how one must perform either, so performing drunk is only immoral if you perform badly and thus rip-off the paying customer. If we held marathon music sessions, last one standing take all, then drugs etc would be a problem. Music and athletics are not currently analogous.
When we invent the pill with horrible side-effects but improves small muscle control, or gives perfect pitch, the argument would become more parallel.

I want to know more about the data on that cyclist. I shall have to google, i guess. I expect a race like that to pull samples from all contestants at least at the start, and possibly daily. Samples are stored until randomly selected or until the person wins or is involved in an incident of some sort. Winners and incident-involvees can have ALL samples tested. If the winner spikes on day 17 but is clean on the other days, its unlikely he's on a muscle-building drug, it seems to me. Since I am unfamiliar with the data, I dont have an opinion on whether the fellow was appropriatly or inappropriately denied his win.
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:52 pm

"by using electric clocks and photo-finishes"

Where is the fairness in determining a winner by 0.01 seconds at the end of a 3+ hour crosscountry ski-race?

Call it a tie, give out two gold medals.
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Postby Andy Warton » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:49 pm

barfle,

barfle: I remember a case that was on Sixty Minutes several years back where a running back for Dallas was complaining about drug use by others, but he refused to wear a lot of the padding required by the rules because they slowed him down. Exactly how is this different?

Andy: This man's decision doesn't harm anyone else, or detract from their experience, like doping does. It may be unwise, but it isn't morally wrong, like doping is. He has the moral right to do it.

Oops: I only skimmed your comment there, and assumed that your example was of one wherein the running back wasn't breaking the rules (and thus had the moral right not to wear his padding). I can't see why else you would cite that example, since originally you wrote it in response to my saying this:

"Risk of disqualification despite following the rules?? And risking injury despite following the rules is hardly the same as bringing harm on yourself by doing something that is, in any case, wrong."

If he was breaking the rules, then I still have to ask, how this example is relevant: how is this comparable to risking injury despite following the rules? Rules are there to ensure safety and fair play.

----------------------------------------------------------------

barfle: There is no "morality" in sport, there is either following the rules or breaking them, or maybe just seeing how hard you can lean on them.

How on earth can you say something like that? Perhaps it is true in your experience (and, for that matter, in the experience of dopers) - but in my experience, and in the experience of those with integrity in sport, sport is about being as good as you are in order to be as good as you can. If people do lean on the rules (and I assume this is what you mean by mentioning specialised nutrition and training), have you considered that this is morally acceptable because the rules are just strict enough so that anything done except breaking them is acceptable? As for the matter of trainers and the like, I really don't think they can be compared to doping. We don't live in a perfect world - which is why we have to try to make things as fair as we reasonably can: thus, when there are discrepancies, at least they're out in the open. Not declared, but not hidden. When people follow the rules, these things (special footwear or diets) are fair, because everyone knows what they're up against - whether this be better shoes, or a better coach, or whatever - and they can make an informed decision to agree to participate with those people; everyone agrees them acceptable. When people are underhand (i.e. with drugs) others can't make an informed decision, and a fundamental principle of sport is ruined. And the very idea of having drugged competing out in the open is ludicrous and dangerous.

As to human referees where computerised ones aren't possible - surely no athlete can expect to have a perfect system? As I say, we don't live in a perfect world. That is why (where possible) we try to get close to one; and, where we can't, that's why we have to know how we're competing before we compete.


Piq,
piq:Where is the fairness in determining a winner by 0.01 seconds at the end of a 3+ hour crosscountry ski-race?

I see the harshness of that; but (apart from the fact that I have never heard of this happenning)... (a) the winner is the winner, by however much (b) "winner" doesn't necessarily mean "way better than all the rest all the time." It means that, on that occasion, in those circumstances (and, usually, probably on others) you're the best. Doesn't mean someone else mightn't have beaten you on a bad day, or that there was no luck involved. But you compete knowing these things can happen. Even in your example, one might say that a 3+ hour X-country ski race is a measure of endurance - even if that means how well you can sprint at the end of a really hard slog. Nobody said it would be easy - or even anything except gruelling!

To conclude, let me clarify my point as concisely as possible. I am not saying that doping, as we stand, is not a problem; I am merely saying that it is not bad enough - and never will be - to force us to turn to the alternative (free-for-all doping), which IMNSHO, doesn't bear thinking about. However bad doping is under the current system, removing the rules will never improve anything, and in fact, would only open the door to lots of potentially harmful substances being consumed on greater scales because everyone (not just the morally lax)will feel the need to take them. And those who refuse to drug themselves, would see their talent wasted and untried. Once again, I say: what we have now is the lesser of two evils.
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:26 pm

It happened a few winter olympics ago.
I'd need to know about the start set-up to judge, but bear in mind this race is a staggered start.
If the magic eye records the time the ski-tip crosses the start line and then the magic eye records the same at the end, and does the math, then 0.01 seconds is excessively narrow but understandable.
But if the start is a gun and the end is that closely determined, its a joke because the start will not be that closely regulated.

The clock has been 'detuned' to 0.1 seconds since then.
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Postby barfle » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:46 pm

:arrow: Andy: If he was breaking the rules, then I still have to ask, how this example is relevant: how is this comparable to risking injury despite following the rules? Rules are there to ensure safety and fair play.

barfle: If he's not wearing the required safety equipment, three things happen: 1) he increases his risk of injury; 2) he runs faster because he is carrying less weight; 3) he flaunts the rule book. By not following the rules, he gained for himself an advantage over those who were following the rules. If it's doping, if it's not wearing the required protective gear, if it's illegally faking a play, if it's running out of bounds in order to evade a tackle, it's all breaking the rules. As you noted, the rules are there to ensure safety and fair play. If someone takes it upon themselves to enhance their performance by either doping or not wearing the required safety equipment, they are both violations, and they both have the same effect - an unfair advantage. I really don't see how you can question the validity of the example.

:arrow: Andy: How on earth can you say something like that?

barfle: Morality is far, far different than engaging in a voluntary activity like a sporting event. I really don't have much choice in opting whether to steal, murder, assault, and such things, but I do have a choice in deciding I don't like how a game is played and withdrawing my participation from it.

:arrow: Andy: sport is about being as good as you are in order to be as good as you can.

Barfle: That's all nice and good, but I'm pretty sure you know that it's not really true, especially at the highest professional levels.

:arrow: Andy: When people follow the rules, these things (special footwear or diets) are fair, because everyone knows what they're up against - whether this be better shoes, or a better coach, or whatever - and they can make an informed decision to agree to participate with those people; everyone agrees them acceptable.

barfle: I disagree. For example, let's say I'm a runner, and a pretty good one, going to a major meet. I usually come in in the middle of the pack, not embarrassing myself but not on the podium unless someone drops out. But behind the scenes, I have a techy type working on a shoe that knocks a tenth off my 100 meter time. I come to the meet, and win the gold medal, maybe even breaking a record. Everybody knows it's the shoes, but did I cheat the favorite out of "his" gold?

Did the first guy who carbo loaded cheat? He had an advantage over his competitors that they didn't know about.

How about the first guy to use a fiberglass pole in the pole vault?

Also look at Indy car racing in the 1960s, when drastically different designs were brought to the track. European F1 cars, rear engines, wings, and the such clearly gave some competitors an advantage over the field. There was a lot of griping about it, and what usually changed is the cars driven by the also-rans.

:arrow: Andy: When people are underhand (i.e. with drugs) others can't make an informed decision, and a fundamental principle of sport is ruined.

barfle: We're not really at cross purposes here. I agree that drugs make the playing field uneven. Where we differ is in whether or not the sanctioning bodies are effective in enforcing their rules. Since they are not, something needs to change, and I don't feel more of the same is going to be a change.

:arrow: Andy:As to human referees where computerised ones aren't possible...

barfle: That's not what I said. Clearly, instant replay could correct bad calls by umpires. But baseball doesn't want to do that. It's not impossible at all. It's been considered and rejected by the sanctioning body.
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