Drugs Busts actually Hurt Sport's Image


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Drugs Busts actually Hurt Sport's Image

Postby optimistic » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:41 am

Prime Example: American Baseball has had a steriod problem for about a decade now, but it didn't have an image problem (as pertained to steriods) until recently when their athletes started to get busted and they started testing for steriods.

Example 2: Amercian Football does not have a steriod image problem. They also don't have many publicly annouced positives. Do we really think this sport is clean?

Example 3: Cycling is viewed as the dirtiest sport there is and they probably have the most number of positive tests. Does this mean that a larger percentage of cyclers are doping than say American football players? No, but the large number of positive tests make it appear that way.

Conclusion: A sports drug image is directly related to its number of drug busts no matter how clean or dirty the sport actually is. Exposing dirty players simply makes the sport look dirty as a whole; tarnishing both the sport and clean players.

Point: At some point a sport has to decide which is more important:
a) exposing dirty players
b) protecting the image of the sport
Not saying they are mutually exclusive. One just has to be more important than the other.

Question: Track in America is on life support, all the drug busts of recent years haven't helped. THEY HURT!!! Anyway, do the drug busts help / hurt in Europe where track is more popular? Or is track (as its cleaning up its sport which equals tarnishing its image) dying a slow death there as well? I would think that the lack of great athletes coming from parts of Europe that were historically better suggest its dying a slow death.

Solution: I think track needs to be more concerned with having a marketable product than exposing every drug cheat out there. Perhaps:
a) Change what constitutes cheating (no more silly Edwards cases please --- now she is mentioned with every other drug cheat with no distinction)
b) Get rid of that long list and only test for the hard core stuff
c) Keep drug results confidential and perhaps only suspend the athlete from being able to receive any prize money, appearance fees, and participating in OG WC.

I know some of you are on your high horse about exposing cheats and burning them at the stake. Lets hope you have never lied on a resume or cheating on a test to get an unfair advantage. But assuming you haven't ---- IT IS AN UNWINNABLE BATTLE! For every chemist that can come up with a test there is another one that can beat that test. So trying to out test cheaters will never work.

So lets switch focus and save what I believe to be a dying sport.

To sum things up, American baseball now has a serious steriod image problem -- right? Well that has not stopped ball parks from selling out --- especially when Bonds was close to the record; the fan backlash has not been nearly as bad as expected; and baseball has set another attendance record. So the sport has basically survived. Guess what: Most fans don't care about who is using what? Sport is entertainment, its about entertaining the fans. When will track realize that --- I guess when there are no fans left to entertain.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:01 am

You make some very good points. As I think about it, I don't think track is dying as a spector sport - I don't think it was ever a real spectator sport. Sure, it had greater popularity in the 70s, but this is before the true entertainment (game sports) really exploded.

T&F is currently, and has always been, a sport for the participant - not the spectator. The typical track fan is, or was, a participant in the sport.

Maybe what needs to happen is for the professionalism in the sport to go away. It is the lure of money that has brought in the cheating. Without the money the incentive to cheat would be significantly reduced. Sure there would still be cheaters but it would be much less prevalent.

In the US track has been dying as a spectator sport. But, it has been doing tremendously well in the high schools as a participant sport. Maybe the focus should be on this positive aspect. The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels. Maybe that is the most important thing anyway.
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Postby Powell » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:13 am

Cyril wrote:The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


...or quite untested :?
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:20 am

Powell wrote:
Cyril wrote:The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


...or quite untested :?


The slipperly slope of cynicism.

We know that 99%+ of high school participants are clean. The marks are too poor to suggest any cheating. For the top <1% - that may just have to left at what it is. But, the focus on the postive aspects of the sport - the positive lessons it can teach kids, maybe more important that focusing on the positive drug tests.
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Postby Powell » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:22 am

Cyril wrote:We know that 99%+ of high school participants are clean. The marks are too poor to suggest any cheating. For the top <1% - that may just have to left at what it is.


You can probably say the same thing of senior-level T&F.
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Postby Powell » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:27 am

And if you follow the published lists of athletes receiving drug bans, you'll know a lot of average and mediocre athletes test positive as well - even though they get tested much less frequently. I thus don't buy the 'marks too poor to suggest cheating' argument.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:34 am

Powell wrote:
Cyril wrote:We know that 99%+ of high school participants are clean. The marks are too poor to suggest any cheating. For the top <1% - that may just have to left at what it is.


You can probably say the same thing of senior-level T&F.


If the suggestion is that it is done at high-level high school than the logical progression would be that it is much more prevalent at senior level.

The drop-out rate from the sport after high school and then college is extremely high. Those who continue to compete in elite open competitions are typically competitors who were in that top 1% at the high school and collegiate levels.

If you suggest that drug cheating is prevalent in the top 1% of high school and collegiate competitors (which I don't agree with), you would have to assume it is much higher in open competiton because those left are that top 1%.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:38 am

Powell wrote:And if you follow the published lists of athletes receiving drug bans, you'll know a lot of average and mediocre athletes test positive as well - even though they get tested much less frequently. I thus don't buy the 'marks too poor to suggest cheating' argument.


Wow - are you suggesting the entire sport should be scrapped?

I just don't buy that an average mark of say a 23.5 second 200 meter high school senior is doping.

Having coached at the high school level for many years, I know that none of my kids (even the real good ones) have ever doped.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:42 am

Cyril wrote:Having coached at the high school level for many years, I know that none of my kids (even the real good ones) have ever doped.

You don't know, you believe. There is a difference.
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Postby dj » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:04 am

Cyril wrote:
Powell wrote:
Cyril wrote:The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


...or quite untested :?


The slipperly slope of cynicism.

We know that 99%+ of high school participants are clean. The marks are too poor to suggest any cheating. For the top <1% - that may just have to left at what it is. But, the focus on the postive aspects of the sport - the positive lessons it can teach kids, maybe more important that focusing on the positive drug tests.



We know no such thing. The 2005 National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (cited by the Center for Disease Control on their website) reports the following: "Nationwide in 2005, 4.0% of high school students had taken steroid pills or shots without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their life (i.e., lifetime illegal steroid use). Overall, the prevalence of lifetime illegal steroid use was higher among male than female students, and higher among white than black students."

Male usage was 4.8%, female usage 3.2%.

It is true however, that some 10-12 years ago, this study also showed that only about half of high school kids who had used steroids were athletes. In other words, steroid use on the high school level is often for cosmetic purposes. It's similar to current high school usage of Viagra and Cialis, which is alarmingly high, although I don't know specific numbers.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:05 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
Cyril wrote:Having coached at the high school level for many years, I know that none of my kids (even the real good ones) have ever doped.

You don't know, you believe. There is a difference.


The kids I personally coached - I KNOW did not take anything..

And, my son, who last year at 14 ran solid varisty times as a 9th grader (winning some varsity races) after stepping on the track after soccer season, is as pure as can be - he doesn't even have an interest in the sport - he just did it for some soccer conditioning.

If my son can run as fast as he did at 14, there is no reason suggest that kids 3 years older can't run a bit faster without doping.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:51 am

dj wrote:
Cyril wrote:
Powell wrote:
Cyril wrote:The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


...or quite untested :?


The slipperly slope of cynicism.

We know that 99%+ of high school participants are clean. The marks are too poor to suggest any cheating. For the top <1% - that may just have to left at what it is. But, the focus on the postive aspects of the sport - the positive lessons it can teach kids, maybe more important that focusing on the positive drug tests.



We know no such thing. The 2005 National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (cited by the Center for Disease Control on their website) reports the following: "Nationwide in 2005, 4.0% of high school students had taken steroid pills or shots without a doctor’s prescription one or more times during their life (i.e., lifetime illegal steroid use). Overall, the prevalence of lifetime illegal steroid use was higher among male than female students, and higher among white than black students."

Male usage was 4.8%, female usage 3.2%.

It is true however, that some 10-12 years ago, this study also showed that only about half of high school kids who had used steroids were athletes. In other words, steroid use on the high school level is often for cosmetic purposes. It's similar to current high school usage of Viagra and Cialis, which is alarmingly high, although I don't know specific numbers.


That is a staggering statistic. It is discouraging. However, I have first hand knowledge that very good marks are commonly achieved by clean athletes.

If half of the 4.0% of PEDS are taken by athletes, I would suspect that out of the remaining 2%, most of those are football players. I think the numbers in track are still about 1%, and most of those would be sprinters/throwers.

Again, there is so much focus on the small percentage of athletes that put a negative spin on the sport. WE KNOW the MUCH larger percent of kids are clean and getting all of the positive things the sport has to offer. By gving this so much attention we are letting the cheating 1% taint the entire sport.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:42 pm

Cyril wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:
Cyril wrote:Having coached at the high school level for many years, I know that none of my kids (even the real good ones) have ever doped.

You don't know, you believe. There is a difference.


The kids I personally coached - I KNOW did not take anything.

Do you have them under surveillance 24/7? If not, there is no way you could possibly know.

    know - to perceive directly
    believe - to accept as true or real

Mark Twain once said that the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning bug and lightning.

I believe that man has been on the moon.
Neil Armstrong knows that man has been on the moon.

I believe that Marita Koch set the 400 world record with the aid of PED's.
Koch's coach and trainer know that she set the 400 world record with the aid of PED's.

W believed that Saddam had WMD.
W did not know that Saddam had WMD.
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Postby bad hammy » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:48 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Cyril wrote:The kids I personally coached - I KNOW did not take anything.

Do you have them under surveillance 24/7? If not, there is no way you could possibly know.

Cyril,

Gotta agree. Now that said, I also believe that banned PED use in HS T&F is minuscule, and you are probably correct concerning your athletes. But to say that you are 100% positive that no athlete you ever coached ever took PEDs while under your care seems a tad naive. Kids can be devious little suckers, you know . . .
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Postby Cooter Brown » Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:56 pm

bad hammy wrote:I also believe that banned PED use in HS T&F is minuscule


I grew up in a hick South Texas town and off the top of my head remember 4 guys at my high school that took steroids and were pretty open about it...this was in '87-'90. Our high school only had like 450 students total. I will say NONE had anything resembling talent and it was all about building beach muscles for them.
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Postby trackhead » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:04 pm

Track has become a cleaner sport because of recent developments. It's not uor fault that so many people are stupid and can't realize that track is far, far cleaner than any of the more maintstream American pro leagues.

What you really need is for NFL, MLB and the like to get much, much more serious about their own situation. Forget these two or three game suspensions; two-year suspensions and then a lifetime ban. That will make waves.
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Postby Cyril » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:15 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:
bad hammy wrote:I also believe that banned PED use in HS T&F is minuscule


I grew up in a hick South Texas town and off the top of my head remember 4 guys at my high school that took steroids and were pretty open about it...this was in '87-'90. Our high school only had like 450 students total. I will say NONE had anything resembling talent and it was all about building beach muscles for them.


12th graders with a bit of talent running 22 mid and 49 low do not need roids to get to that level. I am certain some more talented kids could go significantly faster.

I coached solid high school kids....not phenoms but solid. No, I wasn't monitoring their every move 24/7 but I knew most of these kids quite well. I feel pretty certain (no, not 100 percent but very close) that they weren't taking anything.

There were a couple of schools within our league that had kids who my athletes "knew" were taking roids....I don't think it would have been quite the scandal among my athletes if they too were taking.

I think either many of you are showing your sour grapes for not having the talent of some of those who are more successful, or you are getting off on seeing the sport have problems.

It is obvious that PEDS are prevalent at the highest level of the sprints, but I do not think they are commonly used at the high school or even collegiate levels. Sure they are used by some, but it is not nearly as widespread as many of you are making it out to be.
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Postby David Andersen » Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:00 pm

IT IS AN UNWINNABLE BATTLE!


I agree, which is why I advocate we stop prosecuting all crime in America. It's not like we're ever going to end crime, right? Plus it's only giving us a bad image abroad and we'll save all that money spent in the law enforcement and judicial systems. Why some of that money could go to international marketing programs!

[Cue Jingle]

Spend your time in the USA,
we've got no crime,
it's a perfect place!

[Fade out]
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Postby RMc » Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:59 pm

Cyril wrote:Maybe what needs to happen is for the professionalism in the sport to go away. It is the lure of money that has brought in the cheating. Without the money the incentive to cheat would be significantly reduced. Sure there would still be cheaters but it would be much less prevalent.

The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


Drugs permeated the sport prior to actual paydays. The real incentive seemed to be the Cold War competition of the 60's and 70s. Professionalism actually seemed to push for more drug testing because we had individuals benefiting rather than influential governments.

As for the collegiate level, drug usage is probably on par with the international level, maybe even more as the NCAA is not as rigorous in enforcement. How do you think every team in the Big 12 has an offensive line averaging more than 300 pounds? I certainly saw the usage when I was in college in the early 80s.
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Postby Cyril » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:46 pm

RMc wrote:
Cyril wrote:Maybe what needs to happen is for the professionalism in the sport to go away. It is the lure of money that has brought in the cheating. Without the money the incentive to cheat would be significantly reduced. Sure there would still be cheaters but it would be much less prevalent.

The sport is still quite pure at the HS and collegiate levels.


Drugs permeated the sport prior to actual paydays. The real incentive seemed to be the Cold War competition of the 60's and 70s. Professionalism actually seemed to push for more drug testing because we had individuals benefiting rather than influential governments.

As for the collegiate level, drug usage is probably on par with the international level, maybe even more as the NCAA is not as rigorous in enforcement. How do you think every team in the Big 12 has an offensive line averaging more than 300 pounds? I certainly saw the usage when I was in college in the early 80s.


If what many of you are saying is true, it is very depressing. It would be very discouraging to a kid who has some natural ability and is considering using that ability on the track. If true, it would appear that ultimately a talented athlete would become very frustrated as many (most?)of his fellow competitors would be cheating - the playing field would not be level.

I don't doubt collegiate football is widely infected - it is money driven. Kids who do well go on to the NFL. Colleges that do well get big money. But, not so in track. Aside from a very select few, track athletes won't become professionals.

Fortunately, I still have my personal experiences to fall back on. Most of these experiences were positive and with little indiciation that drugs are required for a solid natural athlete to accomplish some very impressive performances. Were these athletes competing against users? Perhaps, but if they were, the users didn't gain to much advantage because the clean kids I knew competed near the top in their divisions.
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Postby eldrick » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:47 pm

there are so many ways to improve performance by legit means without resorting to drugs :

- see a nutritionist & plan ideal diet of high protein ( build/maintain muscle )/ high carb ( to fuel training )/ low fat ( but need essential fatty acids )/ plenty of legal vitamin/mineral supplements to address any deficiency

- regular blood tests to check any medical problems - anaemia/low thyroid/low vitamin levels ( B12/folate/iron/etc )

- see physiologist to measure body fat ( i like this one ) - very important for a sprinter - they use method called hydrostatic weighing, which involves submergence : find how much fat you have & try & find a way to reduce it come to race time : if you are 80kg & can run 10.00, but analysis shows there's still 1kg of excess fat there, try & remove it ( maintain power ) & you have potentially 9.94s off that

it all comes down to money - if you/camp have it, i'm sure there there legit ways to shave at least 0.1s of a previous elite time
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Postby Powell » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:07 am

Cyril wrote:12th graders with a bit of talent running 22 mid and 49 low do not need roids to get to that level. I am certain some more talented kids could go significantly faster.


I'm obviously not denying there are guys who can run that fast without drugs. But there are also people who are less talented and intent on succeeding, even on a small stage, or people who have the talent, but are looking for shortcuts.
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Postby Cyril » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:08 am

Powell wrote:
Cyril wrote:12th graders with a bit of talent running 22 mid and 49 low do not need roids to get to that level. I am certain some more talented kids could go significantly faster.


I'm obviously not denying there are guys who can run that fast without drugs. But there are also people who are less talented and intent on succeeding, even on a small stage, or people who have the talent, but are looking for shortcuts.


The question is how widespread? I let my wife read this thread. She was an All-American hurdler in the late 80s....she laughed. She never took anything and never heard of any of her teammates taking anything - a couple of her teammates ended up being world class athletes (one an oly medalist).

As mentioned above, I know there are cheaters. I also think it is a big problem at the elite open level of the sprints. But, I don't think at the lower levels it is nearly as widespread as you are implying.
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