Saturday, May 19, 2007

Steroid Nation: European Track May Have Toughest Anti-Doping Policy

I asked Gary R. Gaffney, M.D. at Steroid Nation for his opinion on which sport has the most stringent doping policy. His reply was that, "the toughest appears to be European track policies where bio-profiles need to be established, and testing can occur at any time and any place."

Allyson Felix, USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week, happens to share this opinion:

"It’s just part of the routine — you know you’re going to be tested probably more than athletes in any other sport,” she said. “They can pull you out of any competition, disrupt your whole day, it doesn’t matter. You have to do this. I think we will always have to do that."

For that reason, the stock excuses that are being uttered all too frequently by track athletes who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar ("It was an accident," or "I was buying vitamins online and my English is limited," or "My testosterone level is naturally 10 times higher than the normal person's.") just don't pass muster. These excuses have all the sophistication of a 5 year old with melted chocolate chips on his chin and fingers.

In comparing the doping policy of track and field to other professional sports policies, Dr. Gaffney said, "American pro anti-doping policies (MLB, NFL, NBA) are almost an IQ test; only the dull athlete is caught." The same can be said of the track athlete who is popping Orastan-E capsules behind a locked bathroom door realizing that officials may be knocking on the front door at any moment with a case of urine vials, accompanied by a phlebotomist.

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