Performance Enhancing Drugs
Your favourite sports star and mine. Your team and my team too – all of them are Lance Armstrong today.
That’s not to say every sportsman or woman in a major professional Australian sport is guilty of doping and/or match fixing. But let’s be clear. Everyone is now firmly under the spotlight. Everyone. Even the ones we thought were clean skins.
The Australian Crime Commission investigation and report into Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport shows that we are cheats and drug takers just like everyone else.
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Lance Armstrong’s remaining fans have performed some epic intellectual back flips to rationalise the cyclist’s behaviour following his semi-contrite confession last week.
Apparently, because so many other riders were pumped up on drugs, and because it’s bloody difficult to win the Tour de France clean, Lance shouldn’t be treated so harshly for systematically defrauding the public and building himself up as a sporting legend under false pretences.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of stupid going around at the moment. Which brings me to the latest bright idea for dealing with performance enhancing drugs in sport - bare-faced surrender.
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I have a confession. It’s important that this confession be made in a non-threatening environment, ideally to a very broad audience of people of which many have never heard of me before, but are still able to empathise and hopefully commend me for being so brave.
But since Oprah won’t return my calls, I’ll have to make it here. I have used performance-enhancing drugs. By “performance” I mean “my year 6 School Captain campaign speech” and by “drugs” I mean “my mum”.
As I’m sure most of you are aware, I was School Captain of Our Lady of the Way Primary School, Emu Plains in 1995. It was a year of strong policy - freshly painted handball courts, new bubblers and the introduction of senior-only lunch areas - tainted only by one minor scandal: the most sophisticated and successful doping program the school had ever seen.
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The admission by Lance Armstrong that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career may finally lead to a comprehensive account of the widespread doping during the past two decades of the sport.
Drug use has been known to cycling for decades. In the early days, some riders consumed a cocktail of amphetamines to withstand the long hours of competition, day after day, in the grand tours.
But it was the discovery of Erythropoietin (EPO) in the 1980s that has cast a long shadow over cycling to this day. EPO is the hormone that regulates red blood cell production, giving the user an unfair advantage.
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