DRUGS IN SPORT; A Modest Proposal

 

Where now the Olympic Ideal?

Drugs in Sport; a Modest Proposal

 

And so another Olympic Games have come and gone. Now I must admit that on the whole televised sport bores me. Thus, the only event I watched all of and was actually interested in (aside from the womens gymnastics, of course..ah those lithe and limber girls!) was the actual “Marathon” race itself, from which the Games themselves derive their origin. Being an old Pagan and history buff, I find the historic reasonances attached to this gruelling 22 mile race irresistable.

For the Marathon is in essence a Sacred commemoration of a noted event in the epic struggle between the free Greek City States and the Persian Empire. From the Greeks eventual victory sprang Western Civilisation itself. The development of Democracy, Science, Philosophy, Humanism and History all owe their existence in great part to the victory of the Greeks. Truly it would be one of “Life’s Little Ironies” if one day a Persian(Irani) athlete won the Marathon.

Mind you if I had my way, being a staunch traditionalist, I’d get the athletes to run the whole Marathon dressed in full armour, heavy brass helmet and all. Now that would be a challenge and a Spectacle worth watching!

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Sadly the organisers had the Marathon run in circles, instead of a far more appropriate and Symbolic “Point A to Point B” route. But while they were running around and around London, like rats in an exercise wheel, I somehow got to thinking about the whole “Drugs in Sport” issue.

Yes for all the emphasis Society puts on Sport as being a positive, healthy, Role-modelling sort of activity, it seems to me that everytime you open a paper or flick on the TV, you see some Sporting “Celebrity” getting busted for Crimes & Misdemeanours relating to chemicals.

Either they’re pumping themselves up on bizarre concoctions of lizard hormones and just-synthesized-steroids, or they’re getting drunk and publicly humiliating themselves in public spaces like night-clubs, car-parks and libraries. (I often ask myself if its actually possible for a football player to go out socialising and not end up being arrested for being a drunken idiot.)

And in the aftermath of their careers many a burnt out athlete ends up on the supply side, getting busted for dealing one thing or another, from Ecstasy to Steroids.

So considering the actual relationship between drugs and sporting celebrities as it exists today, you wonder why politicians, religious types and reformers of all stripes keep insisting that spending more money on Sport will somehow get kids “off the drugs”. Evidence would suggest the contrary is true. Rugby League in particular has always been a sub-culture of drunken, aggressive yobbo’s, even before they added steroids and speed to the mix.

 

Anyways, Recreational Drugs is one thing, but “Performance Enchancing Drugs” is another Frankenstein’s Monster of an issue altogether.. With so much money being spent and made on Sport, the pressure to employ some Dr Strangelove to administer magic potions is strong. After all, winning is everything these days, you don’t see a losers face on the side of a box of breakfast cereal do you, even if they are drug free.

So cutting-edge has the science of the multi-million dollar Sport-drug Industry become, that drug enchanced medal winners may hold onto their title for up to ten years before they’re finally busted for being drug cheats; it taking that long for Official Sporting testing bodies to catch up with the products churned out by the “black-labs”. Some sports, like the Tour-de-France, are so drug riddled as to become world-wide laughing stocks. And no-ones even surprised anymore when some sports “woman” turns into a sports “man’ after years of intensive, er, training. East Germany and China are not the only guilty parties here.

So they have Elite Athletes both Amateur and Professional pissing into more test-tubes than a prize race horse, yet Sporting Authorities Canute-like are still unable to turn the tide of freshly created drugs, hormones, steroids & chemicals.

My friends, in the light of the current desperate situation might I therefore suggest a Modest Proposal?

I believe that there should be two seperate Olympic Games held simultaneously, call them for now, the “Straight” Olympics and the “Drug” Olympics, or perhaps, using terms less loaded, the Original Olympic Games and the Enchanced Olympic Games.

Its a logical move, like dividing Sport into Amateur and Professional, or indeed establishing a “Handicapped Olympics” for disabled Athletes.

The Original Olympics will be au naturale and sans drugs on pain of death. The Enchanced Olympics competitors can take whatever hellbroth of chemicals and stimulants they like in the name of achieving the Ultimate Performance. Cigarette and alchohol companies can advertise and sponsor to their hearts content, and goverments can grow fat on the taxes.

Consider it a test case for Social Darwinism in Sport, (which after all, at its heart is a Competitive Activity)-and let the Fittest survive! Yes and this experiment is completely in tune with the ethics of both laiss’ez-faire Capitalism and Libertarian self-determination. Ha.

Indeed, I suspect that this Social Experiment will provide us with some interesting data over a period of time. We’ll be able to compare the careers, longetivity, health, wealth and sanity of athletes following either the straight or the enchanced route. Yes the results should be positively beneficial, in the long run, from a societal point of view. There will of course be casualties on both sides, but Sport has always taken a heavy toll on its devotee’s.

Take for example the prestige sport of the Original Olympics, the four horse chariot race. By prestige I mean it was a rich mans sport, like yachting today, for only a rich man could afford to maintain the stables and equipment to compete. The races were exciting and deadly. Many’s the time the track was littered with the broken bodies of dead and dying horses and men, and the splinters of broken chariots. The Owners meanwhile watched from the stands, out of harms way, waiting to graciously accept their prize. They could always hire more drivers.

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Maybe as a result of long years of chemical and biological experimentation the Drug Olympics will show Humanity the way forward into a glorious symbiotic Future where Science and Technology will expand the human potential and we will develop hithero unsuspected capabilities. We will create an enchanced human form capable of surviving on the strange and hostile environments of alien planets. We will all end up taking cocktails of chemicals and hormones to enchance our existence to the maximum. Sort of like over-clocking a computer, I guess.

Or maybe we’ll end up with a growing subclass of burnt-out mutant-zombie former athletes, stumbling around with hairy palms and glazed eyes and nippples growing down their back- a cautionary example for all those wishing to ride the chemical super-highway to Sporting Celebrity-hood.

Or in the end perhaps their fate will be more banal and it will be just as the wowsers warned, that the winners of the Drug Olympics will have the life-long gnawing frustration, of never knowing if they could have done it on their own.

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The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

He’s actually a very nice man!

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~ by reverendhellfire on August 19, 2012.

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