Bear with me, because I was thinking about this on the middle of my ride today and I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. It all started when I Anyhow, I was watching From Russia With Love (because some days there’s only so much Breaking Bad one can stomach). The movie opens SPOILER ALERT with a scene of chess being played and one of the players is passed a note during the course of played. That got me thinking about the Virginia chess cheating scandal and how it might relate to doping. The main player in question was caught using an electronic guide to help figure out his next move and was beating far higher ranked players. So a relatively open and shut case of cheating (though the scope and length of time of the cheating is in question).
So how does that relate to doping in sport, and, in particular, in triathlon (some of the sourcing for what follows comes from this Slowtwitch thread)? Given the WADA rules, it’s pretty clear where the limits are. The scope of the testing for amateur athletes, however, is a bit less clear. It appears that the individual races themselves (at least when sanctioned by USADA/USATF/USAC/USAT) are often on the hook for providing the funds for testing athletes out of competition testing, I believe, is performed by the USADA sending testers to individual athletes. Again, it’s expensive, even for a limited number of pro athletes. Now one possible solution is to have some athletes tested only at the races, but not all doping occurs right before the race1. And as amateurs, many (extrapolating from my data point of 1) are less cautious about knowing exactly what is on the WADA prohibited substances list (unlike the TSA). While I would be open to getting tested (given that I haven’t knowingly ingested/injected/snorted anything banned). That being said, it’s our duty to know the rules, as it’s our duty to know the course.
And here’s where I ran out of steam, until I saw this article. And holy shit.
Now, you could say this doesn’t matter. After all, there aren’t a lot of amateurs doping, and whether the pros are being tested is sometimes questioned. But it matters because the rules are the rules. We can ignore that there’s a doping problem. I don’t know the answers. I don’t know what makes sense. But I do know doping is cheating. It is dishonest. We need to hold ourselves to high standards.
- I recommend The Secret Race by Hamilton and Coyle for some background on doping ↩