THE DOPING DILEMMA
LANCE ARMSTRONG HAS DROPPED TOP LEVEL SPORTS INTO
by Andre Jute
You don’t need to be Carl Jung to know that most people find it easier to conform, to go along.
There is no evidence that Lance Armstrong was the primary or even a main instigator of doping in top-level cycle racing. There is every evidence that he arrived in a sport where doping was already the norm — and went along with what was expected of him. Demonizing Armstrong will not change the facts.
I don’t feel sorry for Armstrong. He’ll be touring the talk shows, building his brand, which may now become Repentance and Redemption.
I see that picking on Armstrong and, even worse, waiting to do it until his career was definitely over, is symptomatic of collusion and incompetence and hypocrisy throughout the sport.
I feel sorrier for the fans, not Armstrong’s fans in particular, but the fans of top-level cycle-racing. It seems to me unlikely that any result of the last 20 or 30 years — and stretching much deeper than the podium — is now above suspicion. That the UCI are not awarding Armstrong’s wins to the second-place man is their admission that they know it.
As for the UCI, it is so contaminated and tarnished, it should be closed down. It’s officials should be prosecuted. It is impossible to believe that they didn’t know what was going on in their sport. Once that is agreed, it is impossible to believe that they didn’t collude. Now, immorally, they’re embarking on retrospective witch hunts, applying twenty-twenty hindsight, claiming to be whiter than white. It’s immoral, disgraceful, and disgusting, the nadir of blazers covering their slack asses when the manure hits the spreader, and at the same time trying to put themselves forwards for new careers as drugs busters, the very activity at which they have already failed so ignominiously. We should start afresh with a new control body with new people, probably brought in from junior team sports, maybe girls’ soccer, guaranteed to be clean because there’s no money in it.
Turning now to drugs testing. I was vastly irritated during the Olympics, what I caught of it, by the constant advertising of the drugs testing laboratory, to the point where it seemed the Olympics was not so much a contest of athlete against athlete but against doping. Anti-doping has become the new Global Warming, with the same hysterical mob reaction to it.
The problem is clearly that effective drugs testing is less a science than an art, a matter of opinion, at the margins a toss of the coin. Putting a bunch of chemists in ultimate charge of our iconic sports isn’t the answer either. We have already seen how politically committed “scientists” trashed long-range climate forecasting by concerted, consistent lying and thuggery to protect an ideal that shone only to them. They were supported every step of the way by the mob, as the chemists will be if my bleak scenario is enacted.
What we have already seen in sports where they control doping better, as in the better regulated Olympic sports, is that witch hunts lead to false accusations, people’s careers ruined for taking a cough medicine prescribed by their physician for a slight cold. That’s nonsense too, and the drugs laboratories and officials should be sued for consequential damages and penalties. Let’s be clear on this: I would rather a hundred dopers escape punishment than that one innocent is falsely shamed. That is the only proper interpretation of the law and any regulation applied by anyone whosoever; to compromise on that principle is to betray human rights.
These facts together may make control of doping impossible. We may be heading for a Rollerball future in which athletes are a separate class of humanity, bred and doped from birth for extraordinary athletic feats.
• Andre Jute’s sports are cycling, rugby, racing in all its forms (automobiles, offshore powerboats, transocean yachts), polo, tennis and golf. He is the author of IDITAROD a novel The Greatest Race on Earth, about the perilous 1000 mile sled dog race across Alaska, perhaps the only race in the world which is guaranteed to be drug-free. He’s wondering if he should remove all reference to Armstrong from his bicycling netsite before the politically correct get the wrong idea!
• Copyright ©2013 Andre Jute. This article, as long as it is used complete including this notice, may be freely reprinted on not-for-profit sites. No commercial use without permission.