If you follow sports of any sort or if you just watch the news, you’ve noticed all of the steroid hearings and talk of cheating by athletes who use performance enhancing drugs. There are many differing views on this topic but as soon as the government gets involved in defining what’s fair, watch out. An interesting article in Slate magazine asks, “If steroids are cheating, why isn’t LASIK?” Great question, and that’s why I’m writing about performance enhancements in The Kneeslider.
You don’t usually think of steroids around motorcycle racing (or auto racing) since the machines are so important but suppose the racer has much better eyesight as the result of LASIK surgery than another racer, is that fair? Or back to steroids, suppose one racer has more muscular strength and endurance from taking various substances, that can certainly help win races once the skill levels are similar, fair? The point is, many of these things are going to occur any time big money is involved. The natural athlete, racer or whatever, is going to be at a disadvantage because strength, endurance and great eyesight are better than the alternatives. Is this a problem? If it is, where do you draw the line?
Body building contests left the natural world long ago. But as science and medicine progress, more and better treatments will be available for anything short of perfection and it will be available to people in every walk of life and sporting competition. The argument that something isn’t “natural” is weak. Vitamin pills don’t occur in nature, protein supplements don’t grow on trees, if you can’t hunt, fish or harvest it, it’s not natural.
Whatever your views, it would be far better if decisions about these topics remained with the governing bodies of the sports themselves. Once congress begins to grandstand on the issue, nothing good can come of it.
Link via Techdirt