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Professional baseball player Mark McGwire admitted to using to using performance enhancing drugs while playing. A large consensus of the sporting world deems this cheating. Cycling deals with similar issues when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and doping. The general consensus is that this is cheating. My question to the general forum is why is it cheating? Why is the line drawn there and not other places. A friend told me that one of the larger reasons is so that you can compare modern athletes with their previous generational counterparts. But with perfectly legal performance enhancing supplements, modern bicycle construction, helmets designed in wind tunnels, and such are they even comparable? I mean take for example something as simple as asthma. A cyclist today has an inhaler that allows them to breathe when it flares up while a cyclist even 50 years ago did not have that option and most likely would never get as far up the ranks competitively. So if that argument is out of the question then why is the use of performance enhancing drugs the sin that it is today? Once again why was the line drawn there? What would the problem be if any athlete used performance enhancing drugs under a doctor’s supervision in a safe and highly controlled manner? I don’t mean abuse by some high school kid who is trying to get around hard work and discipline by any means. I mean a world class athlete who has obviously reached whatever genetic potential that they have and want to continue improving or maybe are on the decline and want to get another 3-5 years out of their career at the top level. If the playing field were level across the board so there would not be the “well person A dopes and person B doesn’t” what would the consensus be then? I am by no means condoning the use of steroids, doping, or any form of performance enhancing drugs as they are not allowed in any sport and are illegal. This is merely meant for discussion as the McGwire story broke yesterday and a friend and I were talking about it yesterday.

Thoughts?
 

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There is no hard line between "legitimate" and illegitimate performance enhancers, it is culturally determined. But generally most of us agree that drugs that pose a known threat to the health and safety of the user, and are detectable, should be outlawed. Certain practices, like blood doping, veer into the "ick" territory, that is, they violate a certain social taboo and we don't want to think of our sports heros as being obliged to perform such tasks in order to be competitive.
 

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In a way its great advertising for steroids in baseball and other sports....they work! (But not allowed). I'm sure in years past there were substances used that improved performance for athletes, but after research were deemed illegal to use during events. In the future we may see things we currently use now be on a "banned substance" list.
 

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Most endurance athletes are take inhalers before races, most of them in the absense of asthma. I would say that at the world class level almost all the athletes are on some sort of performance enhancing drugs. If you want to get to that level that another part of the training. I know a guy who went to europe on a farm team for cofidis as a 20year old. As soon as he got there they put him on EPO, he couldn't take the 6-7 days on the bike, cracked and went home a year later. But if they are doing that to the farm teams then what do you think the top athletes are doing. Its just like in professional body building. If they want to compete at that level then they take roids. They will always say that they dont but everyone knows that they do. It less obvious in the endurance world because you dont get the bulk you get with steroids, but I beleive the same applies there as well.

When the Russians refused to give the Canadian figure skaters the gold after faulty judging in the past olympics they olympic commisionaers tested the russian xc skiing team 15 mins before the race started, found they were using EPO and banned them. The olympics tells the athletes when they will test, the athletes take a slaine solution in their blood stream, spreadig out the red blood cells and then pass the test. So when the olympics wanted to get the russians back they tested them by surprise. Testing is used by big organizations as a way to look ethical in the media's eyes, the commisioners all know what goes on.

Yah it would be nice to have every athlete not take performance enhancing drugs, but if there is the one guy that does then it ruins it. So thats why the majority of world class athletes do take them, it puts everyone (except thiose not on the drugs) on an equal.

In the athletes village during the olympics you can hear the endurance athletes running up and down the halls at 3am. They are all wearing HR monitors and due to EPO thickening their blood if their HR drops below 30 BPM then they can die, so they get up and run back and fourth to raise their HR

my 2 cents
 

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Trev said:
When the Russians refused to give the Canadian figure skaters the gold after faulty judging in the past olympics they olympic commisionaers tested the russian xc skiing team 15 mins before the race started, found they were using EPO and banned them.

In the athletes village during the olympics you can hear the endurance athletes running up and down the halls at 3am. They are all wearing HR monitors and due to EPO thickening their blood if their HR drops below 30 BPM then they can die, so they get up and run back and fourth to raise their HR

my 2 cents
On what personal experience or hearsay do you base this? I'm inclined to believe it, but I'm still curious what allows you to say this with such certainty.
 

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Menso said:
On what personal experience or hearsay do you base this? I'm inclined to believe it, but I'm still curious what allows you to say this with such certainty.
The part about the russians, is a story I have heard from a few guys I ride with, not 100% sure of its validity but I know that the olympic commitee did some thing to get the russians back I just never knew what until I heard that story from a few different people

The story of the athletes runnign up and down the hall was told to me by my physiology professor, he didn't know what the noise was until he asked another guy at the olympics and he told him what they were doing in the halls
 

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Yeti2424 said:
Professional baseball player Mark McGwire admitted to using to using performance enhancing drugs while playing. A large consensus of the sporting world deems this cheating. Cycling deals with similar issues when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and doping. The general consensus is that this is cheating. My question to the general forum is why is it cheating? Why is the line drawn there and not other places. A friend told me that one of the larger reasons is so that you can compare modern athletes with their previous generational counterparts. But with perfectly legal performance enhancing supplements, modern bicycle construction, helmets designed in wind tunnels, and such are they even comparable? I mean take for example something as simple as asthma. A cyclist today has an inhaler that allows them to breathe when it flares up while a cyclist even 50 years ago did not have that option and most likely would never get as far up the ranks competitively. So if that argument is out of the question then why is the use of performance enhancing drugs the sin that it is today? Once again why was the line drawn there? What would the problem be if any athlete used performance enhancing drugs under a doctor's supervision in a safe and highly controlled manner? I don't mean abuse by some high school kid who is trying to get around hard work and discipline by any means. I mean a world class athlete who has obviously reached whatever genetic potential that they have and want to continue improving or maybe are on the decline and want to get another 3-5 years out of their career at the top level. If the playing field were level across the board so there would not be the "well person A dopes and person B doesn't" what would the consensus be then? I am by no means condoning the use of steroids, doping, or any form of performance enhancing drugs as they are not allowed in any sport and are illegal. This is merely meant for discussion as the McGwire story broke yesterday and a friend and I were talking about it yesterday.

Thoughts?
If you were to break your post up into paragraphs it would make it much easier to read.:thumbsup:
 

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Trev said:
The story of the athletes runnign up and down the hall was told to me by my physiology professor, he didn't know what the noise was until he asked another guy at the olympics and he told him what they were doing in the halls
Whew! That's eye-opening stuff...

One thing that I heard a while ago but sticks with me is: "If there were no drugs in competition, the winner would still be the same man (or woman)."
In other words, the performance is raised, but by proportional amounts for the entire competitive population. So the relative rankings, (i.e. who wins and in what finish order), doesn't change. Only the absolute is effected, i.e. the winner's time.
 

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Why is it cheating?

To me there is a couple of reasons.

#1 Health: You shouldn't have to take something that puts your long and short term health in danger to compete.

#2 Equality: Drugs allow someone to buy performance. Competition should be decided by talent, work ethic, training knowledge ect... Not by who has the best drug program. There already is enough of a bias in sport towards those with money, legalizing drugs would shift the balance even more in their favour.
 

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Another thing to consider is that there is no measure on exactly how much a drug helps a certain individual. For instance in one case it may benefit the user with 20% power of some sort, but for another person only 5%.
 

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Trev said:
The story of the athletes runnign up and down the hall was told to me by my physiology professor, he didn't know what the noise was until he asked another guy at the olympics and he told him what they were doing in the halls
He's probably referring to the stories of young Dutch riders "on the program" who, after the deaths of several others in their ranks, were woken up once or twice a night to perform exercises to elevate the heart rate to a "safe" level, given the thickness of their blood.

However, due to modern anti-doping laws (<50% hematocrit, for starters) this probably hasn't happened in the last 8-10 years.
 

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Le Duke said:
He's probably referring to the stories of young Dutch riders "on the program" who, after the deaths of several others in their ranks, were woken up once or twice a night to perform exercises to elevate the heart rate to a "safe" level, given the thickness of their blood.

However, due to modern anti-doping laws (<50% hematocrit, for starters) this probably hasn't happened in the last 8-10 years.
I cant remember the actual numbers from last semesters lecture but my phys prof said that their was a certain number that your RBC count had to be under in order for you to not die due to cardiac arrest becasue of the blood being to thick. Thanks to all the endurance athletes that have passed away due to to high RBC numbers, other athletes now know the maximum number of RBC one can have without dying. That being said, if your HR drops below 30BPM you are still at an extreme risk of a myocardial infarction

I think the number was somewhere around 18 g per 150ml, but still not sure
 

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There is no set number for Hemaglobin/hematacrit that will cause clotting. Rather the RISK of clotting goes up after you leave the normal range. These risks can be reduced by simply taking an aspirin.

As for the HR being a problem if it goes to low....not sure if I believe that....anyone have any research as to that?

As for the drugs in sports...it sucks as I think that what draws people to sports is the amazement that someone is doing such incredible things and they are just "gifted". And that maybe we dream that we could do those things too.

Also funny caffeine is allowed, and up to the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee. I guess we make exceptions for some drugs....
 

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Okie Dokie said:
There is no set number for Hemaglobin/hematacrit that will cause clotting. Rather the RISK of clotting goes up after you leave the normal range. These risks can be reduced by simply taking an aspirin.

As for the HR being a problem if it goes to low....not sure if I believe that....anyone have any research as to that?

As for the drugs in sports...it sucks as I think that what draws people to sports is the amazement that someone is doing such incredible things and they are just "gifted". And that maybe we dream that we could do those things too.

Also funny caffeine is allowed, and up to the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee. I guess we make exceptions for some drugs....
yes that is true, the value will not be the exact same for every individual, that being said once that RBC level goes past a certain point (where others have died from) the risks increases drastically and are not worth doping to that point as the risk of death is high.

The HR will also not be the exact same for every individual but think about how the heart moves through the body. The more RBC one has the thicker the blood is, meaning when the heart is in between beats the blood does not move nearl as far nor does it moves back into your heart very efficiently. You get more venous pooling, so as soon as your HR gets below a certian number (mostly 30 BPM in most individuals) the blood does not really moves during the hearts resting phase and that can directly cause myocardial infarction
 

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This is really about moral and medical limits

The rest is about a level playing field, finally getting past witch hunting and finger pointing, and sounding the insidious nature of institutional support.
 

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Okie Dokie said:
There is no set number for Hemaglobin/hematacrit that will cause clotting. Rather the RISK of clotting goes up after you leave the normal range. These risks can be reduced by simply taking an aspirin.

As for the HR being a problem if it goes to low....not sure if I believe that....anyone have any research as to that?

As for the drugs in sports...it sucks as I think that what draws people to sports is the amazement that someone is doing such incredible things and they are just "gifted". And that maybe we dream that we could do those things too.

Also funny caffeine is allowed, and up to the equivalent of 4-5 cups of coffee. I guess we make exceptions for some drugs....
Hey blood doping sounds no more dangerous than orange juice. Remember who said that? And why?

In Lance's first book, he chuckled when he was prescribed EPO during his cancer treatment. The difference is that he was in a hospital and it was prescribed by a doctor who presumably did his research and could monitor its effects.

What about Johan Museeuw? The year he retired, the police raided his home and among the blood doping products, they also found veterinarian drugs.

That's the thing about doping: there are very few doctors that are willing to risk their profession to prescribe doping products, so inevitably dopers are operating in a netherworld with almost no information.

The guy who worked at BALCO and developed the cream and the clear? Had a bachelor's in chemistry and was a roid-rager since his teen years. Is that the guy who you want to buy the sh*t you plan on sticking in your veins?

And caffeine is banned from the Norcal HS Mountain Bike League, 'cause I know racers who head down to the cafe for a triple shot of espresso before the crit.
 

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sanjuro said:
Hey blood doping sounds no more dangerous than orange juice. Remember who said that? And why?.
Actually Ferrari said "EPO is no more dangerous than orange juice", and he's correct.

sanjuro said:
And caffeine is banned from the Norcal HS Mountain Bike League, 'cause I know racers who head down to the cafe for a triple shot of espresso before the crit.
Caffiene is banned by WADA also, depending on the amount...it's a proven performance enhancer.
 
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