Thursday, October 11, 2012

Athletic Disappointments

It seems like every time I turn on the news lately, there is another world-class, record-breaking athlete admitting to doping (the latest athlete in the spotlight is Lance Armstrong).

These people amaze us with their abilities, we are proud of them because they show how must faster and stronger humans can be, and hundreds and thousands of people are inspired to join a specific sport or to get fit in general because of their performance. They're continually pushing the limits, and it's amazing to watch.

Then we find out it was all because of chemical enhancements.

Some don't care - regardless of how they did it, the athletes still inspired a lot of people, and they didn't sign up to be role models, right? Lance Armstrong probably raised millions of dollars for cancer research - are all those people who donated money because they were inspired by him now angry? Do they feel slighted or betrayed?

I don't know, I find I get really disappointed. I think it's so exciting when someone comes along and shatters world records, completely dominates their sport, and leave everyone in their dust. No matter what the sport, I love watching people at the top of their game, like Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, or Michael Phelps. It shows that (extremely) hard work and dedication can make you better at something than everyone else on the planet. But, when it comes out that doping was involved, it's just such a disappointment to find out that maybe people can't be that good without interventions. That maybe you can only achieve average athleticism without it. That we're all just destined to achieve mediocrity. Plus, there are some serious health dangers that come with doping - shouldn't we want to protect our athletes from that, just like we want to protect them from getting head injuries?

There's just no way to know who's doping and who's not - at least not for a few years until the testing catches up with the doping methods (which is why we often find out about these occurrences years after the fact). How can we make every competition a fair one if this is the case? Should we just allow any and all doping, since that's the way it seems to be going anyway? Maybe we should have doping and dope-free Olympics?

What do you think? Is doping in sport a big deal, or is it just part of it now?