It might be time to throw in the towel. Let them take drugs and live with the results. It can't be stopped. Drug tests catch only a small minority of drug users, who always seem to be three steps ahead of the testers. Open the floodgates. No more wasting time and money on tests, no more suspicions and suspensions, no more lies and ludicrous denials.
The policing of drugs is remarkably uneven from sport to sport. Track and cycling are serious about it; the NFL, only on the face of things. The NFL has gotten a free pass (who wants to kill the golden goose?). Does anyone really believe that the athletes who have the most to gain from steroids and human growth hormone simply are not taking them, while drug use is rampant among cyclists and sprinters?
But he passed all the drug tests! That's a common defense for athletes and their fans and media. And so naive. The remarkable thing about the case of Ben Johnson — the Canadian sprinter who was stripped of his 100-meter dash gold medal in the '88 Olympics — wasn't that he was doing drugs; it was that he got caught.
Bonds never officially failed a drug test. Marion Jones never flunked a drug test, either, and she took 160 of them. Tim Montgomery never flunked a test. Mark McGwire never flunked a test and he admits he took steroids. Sammy Sosa never flunked a test.
They have ruined the record books in baseball and track; they have all but killed the Tour de France. Who thinks the situation will improve?
Maybe it's too easy to demonize the users. What would you do if you knew that nearly every one of your competitors was using PEDs, that you were in essence spotting the other guy a two-yard lead at the start of the race? So they rationalize, even with the health risks. It becomes like exceeding the speed limit. Everyone does it. It's survival through drugs.
This is where we find ourselves as the world's most renowned cyclist rides away as the wounded hero.
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