November 28, 2002
Athletic Anti-Doping Testing Seen As Insincere

An article by Selena Roberts in The New York Times examines the International Olympic Committee's half-hearted attempts to police athletic doping by the World Anti-Doping Agency which now has a lab which is supposed to develop new tests to detect hormonal and genetic enhancement of athletic performance. Their efforts are seen by various experts as a cynical attempt to be seen as doing something to control doping. The IOC has such a large interest in the high viewing ratings that come with seeing world records broken that it is argued that they just want to appear to be sincere about controlling doping:

To experts, $18 million is hardly enough in the lab-room chase to develop drug tests that will stand up in a court of law. Athletes remain ahead of the science to nab them, with a head start from the I.O.C.

"I think a lot of the I.O.C. is driven by money," Yesalis said. "A lot of them are greedy. What has evolved is they've done a controlled retreat. At first, they didn't do drug tests at all. Then people started talking about doping, and it was bad for publicity. So it's like, `Well, we'll put in place a drug-testing system that we all know won't catch anyone, but the public won't know.'

There is just no way that the WADA and the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) are going to manage to prevent wider doping by athletes. First of all, they are just not going to apply the resources needed to tackle the problem. But even if they did try harder the problem of detection will become steadily more difficult as gene therapy techniques for optimizing tissues buried deep in the body become possible. See my previous posts on the subject.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 November 28 01:34 PM  Biotech Athletics

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