Source: Venitism

Doping has become big news lately thanks to USADA and their release of the evidence against Lance Armstrong.  Lance Armstrong has/had become a bigger topic for his transgressions in sports than even Tiger Woods.  Of course Tiger is on the comeback trail and Lance will have to venture down that path at some point as well if he wants to rebuild his sports reputation.  Please do not confuse his sports reputation with his reputation to raise funds for cancer as they are two completely different things.  I applaud Lance for his ability to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer but I will not root for him in any way shape or form as an athlete.  He cheated the system, and even if he says he is clean, there is too much smoke for their not to be a fire.  I am not an attorney or a scientist so I cannot say for certain that he did take performance enhancing drugs but I sure can say that he must not be the nicest person.  Why can I say that?  To have this many people lined up at your door to knock you down you must have really pissed somebody off or just been an asshole to a lot of people.  Either way I will not stand up in support of him as an athlete but wish him well in his ability to continue to raise money to help fight cancer.

Then there is the topic of the Christian Hesch and his apology for doping.  Christian Hesch is/was a competitive runner who took EPO to improve his chances of winning running races.  I was sent this article in the NY Times yesterday and I read it with an almost disbelief.  I could not imagine for the life of me why somebody would take drugs to improve his chances at winning a running race in which he was probably barely covering the costs of the drugs, the travel, the entry fee and other items.  It was not as if he was out there winning millions of dollars running these races.  The article points out that he won $40,000 over the course of 3 years in which he was taking the drugs.  That is not a lot of money at all to risk your reputation and who knows what side effects these performance enhancers will have on you in 10 years.

The most glaring point about Mr Hesch is that he only came out to tell this story because he got caught.  Had he not been caught by teammates with syringes there is a very good chance he would still be doping.  What is the point?  How much money is he going to make through running these local races or even the Rock and Roll events?  This is not baseball or football where there are million of dollars at stake, and even then I don’t see the point.  Can Mr Hesch look at himself in the mirror and say that he ran a 4 minute mile?  Can he look at his kids (if he has any) or his nieces and nephews who had looked up to him because he could run fast?  The only reason he ran the times that he did was because he was taking EPO.  These were not achievements that he accomplished on his own.

Back to the NFL and MLB players for a moment.  I am not forgiving them for what they do nor is it more understandable from a money-making perspective.  These athletes have a limited shelf life and need to bring in as much money as they can before they retire and have to go work like the rest of us.  A player like Melky Cabrera who is a border line starter in Major League Baseball, before he took the performance enhancers, makes a decision that could earn him $40 million guaranteed over 4 years.  In baseball where contracts are guaranteed I can see the lure, especially because a lot of the athletes come from poor communities and money is a way to help themselves and their families.  Again, let me reiterate that I do not condone this but the lure of the money may be too great for these played to run away from and thus why they do what they do.

Yesterday after receiving this article from Kevin (Ironman By Thirty) he, Jeff (Dangle The Carrot) and I exchanged emails about this and Jeff made a very good statement.  He said:  I wonder how many AGers are doping?  To this I stop and thought to myself… many are?  I have written posts in the past about taking supplements and also about doping but didn’t really think about the AG competition doing it.  The first thing I thought of was: How important is it to get to Kona?  How important is it to get to Vegas?  How important is it to get to Boston?  For me being able to qualify for these events ranks right at the top for why I do them but never has it crossed my mind to take performance enhancing drugs to do it.  If I get to Kona, Vegas or Boston it will be through hard work and should I never get there my life will not be worth less.  It certainly would not be worth it to take the drugs to get there and then once there look at myself while getting ready for the race knowing that I did not achieve this status on my own.  I would spend that morning thinking that I stole somebody else’s spot and I would not be able to live with myself.  I spend a lot of time speaking to my step-son about working hard.  That hard work is the only way to achieve greatness and to think that there are people out there who believe they are achieving greatness through doping.  Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

How Prevalent Do You Think Doping Is For Age-Groupers?

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  1. Jen says:

    The AG thing is very interesting. I don’t know if it’s prevalent or not because I’ve never thought about it but God I hope not.

    I mean no matter how badly I wanted to qualify and get to a certain race, I would never, ever dope. It’s cheating. Your character is really judged by what you do when no one is looking. Just like I wouldn’t steal from a store or cheat on a test (even if I could “get away with it”) I just wouldn’t. Getting something thru false ways just doesn’t count in my book.
    Jen recently posted..Race day woes and oh noMy Profile

  2. first, thank you for keeping Athlete Lance and CancerAwareness Lance separate. :)

    second, I am SURE there are plenty of AGers out there who do PED’s. Seriously, do you know how many regular joe’s I know that do or have done steroids just for the physical enhancement??

    while I too want to get to Boston and Kona, getting there by cheating would cheapen the experience and I could not hold my head proud getting there by cheating.

    The pro ball players are just as lousy for using drugs, it’s fed by GREED!!! I think they are just as guilty as the cyclists and runners using. SHAME on them too!!
    MilesMusclesMom recently posted..Scandalous!My Profile

  3. Colleen says:

    I bet there are more “cheaters” out there than we even know. :( It’s sad that people are okay with this, but it’s the nature of the beast.

  4. Susan says:

    I don’t think it’s epidemic. But I do think it’s bigger than most of us want to admit. Watch the crowd that pins their season on qualifying for Kona or hitting the podium at the national and world championships – there is an end of the field that takes triathlon every bit as serious as a pro. The incentive is most certainly there, as is the financial wherewithal.

    Performance-Enhancing Drugs are out there, relatively easy and legal to get, even if it is a bit expensive. I used to date a guy who wanted to go to the doctor and fake symptoms of low testosterone – in order to get a prescription for PEDs and get qualify for Kona. As his former girlfriend, I can -ahem- assure you he didn’t need the medication. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed whenever he brought up the idea. Though we’re long broken up, I’ve encountered multiple girlfriends of triathletes who have had similar fights with their men.

  5. Jeff Irvin says:

    So what is the solution to the PED problem?

    I really do not know.

    Do race directors test all AGers after every race? Maybe just test the podium finishers or the top overall finishers? Or maybe just do random testing?

    I sort of like the idea of testing podium finishers but the costs are many – first, the actually dollar cost, who pays for it? Will the costs come out of our race fees? If so that is going rise fees and limit accessibility to races.

    What about the social costs of a positive test to an AG athlete? Careers, families, friendships … these could all be seriously hurt with a positive result and the cause of the result could be something as simple as cold medicine in your system. Even if the result is proven to be a false positive, someone’s reputation could be seriously damaged.

    Just as Susan mentioned above, I think the number of abusers is low but would still surprise many of us. Especially the guys that go to a Low T Clinic, when they really do not need to.

    Lots to think about at the AG level …
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Ironman Mont-Tremblant Nutrition and Predicted TimesMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      It is a lot and you would think that the number is low, but what if you are at the border line of qualifying for the event you so desperately need to get into. Would taking the PEDs after years of trying be inviting?

      Also, the question of who is going to be hard to answer because as we know it is not always the podium AG’er that gets into Kona. You have roll-down slots that get in. Do you say in the case of Ironman/WTC Triathlon: If you qualify for Kona you will be tested? WTC can institute that policy on their own since they are a private business. HITS could do it too since they have the National Championship for their series at the end of the year.

      You are right there is so much that can trigger a positive result that it is hard to regulate it for the AG’er but it might make sense if you are a large company with a reputation to protect and test those that qualify for your championship.

      Of course the next statement is for those qualifying marathoners for Boston. Tons of races and tons of athletes qualify…..where is the line drawn.

      I am going back into my naive hole and pretending like all AG’ers are clean…..except for those that beat me in the races of course!

  6. Donna says:

    I’ve heard doping amongst age groupers is VERY common place in Europe, especially continental races. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

    I remember reading an article on an amateur cycling journalist who ventured into doping to see how it would impact his riding. How he wrote about it – the ability to just keep going, to not get tired on climbs, how it made him feel superhuman – I can see how people would try it out of curiosity and then keep doing it. Especially in a complicit culture.

    Because isn’t this ultimately what doping is about – a culture of sport that is aware of the problem but letting it continue? At all levels, all sports?
    Donna recently posted..Friday Food: 30 Minute Meal, Bacon Wrapped CodMy Profile

  7. Michael Davis says:

    And then you have the responsibility and the duty of being good examples to youngsters, not smoke, training hard, go to bed early, don’t drink alcohol, don’t take drugs, it’s very important to have a policy for educating against doping.
    Michael Davis recently posted..RedXMy Profile

  8. An AGer got caught in a bike race I did earlier this year. A sign of the apocalypse.
    The Rock Star recently posted..A question of Iron protocolMy Profile

  9. misszippy says:

    First, let me say that I was one of Lance’s last holdouts, hoping beyond hope that he didn’t do it. But the evidence is just irrefutable. Outside mag is saying that between the years 99 and 2005, only one of the podium finishers at TdF is even potentially in the clear. What a shame.

    Pro sports, with bigger money? They’ll never crack down there like they did with cycling and it makes me angry.

    Age groupers? I’ve maintained for years that it is prevalent. I just think that if you look at some of the times of age groupers at the top who don’t make the jump to pro, it’s hard to think they aren’t. Maybe that’s not fair, but still…

    The thing that blows my mind beyond anything else is that we are talking about supposed healthy lifestyle people here, people who do all they can to eat well, etc. and not pollute their bodies. To take these substances really blows my mind. I won’t even take Advil, for crying out loud! And in Lance’s case, post cancer, how could he have done this to his body?
    misszippy recently posted..The Baltimore Marathon in flip-flopsMy Profile

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