Olympic Cynicism

27 Dec

So everyone know those Chinese gymnasts are waaay below the minimum age limit allowed.  It’s not fair, and one day we’ll all read how their Asian government doctored their birth certificates and they were really 8 and 10 year olds.  But, even more sinister is (maybe prevalent) steroid use.  After reading a book about The German Doping Scandal, where German (swimming) athletes were (sometimes unknowingly) given steroids that enhanced performance at the detriment of overall health, and a book about BALCO, the company that gave sprinter Marion Jones and baseball (anti)hero Barry Bonds steroid injections, I just can’t help but think the worst about athletes.

I LOVE watching the Olympics.  I have the greatest sense of pride when I watch the competitors.  And when I hear our national anthem it sometimes moves me to tears.  Even when the great performances are not from Americans, I highly respect the athletic prowess, determination, and loyalty to sport required to make it.

And I used to trust in the Olympic drug testing.  But with incidents like Marion Jones, how can you?  Obviously, just like in every other arena (theft, drug-trafficking, etc) the criminals are ahead of science and regulators.  So now when I watch an incredible act of athleticism, instead of thinking how talented the person is, I wonder how long before they are caught cheating.  It almost ruins the whole thing for me.

I just know Usain Bolt, with his show-boating and seeming ease in the sprints, was on steroids. Maybe when science catches up with the criminals or when someone gets caught or steps forward, we’ll hear about it.  And certainly, I want to believe in Michael Phelps.  Eff those dirty “athletes” for casting the shadow of doubt over the true champions.  Phelps is perhaps the greatest athlete of all time–a real hero–despite weed indiscretion and obvious lack of intelligence (more on this later).  Feats such as his are so magical they are difficult to believe. I hope talent like that exists without the enhancement of illegal drugs, but who’s to know?

Shame on the people that damage the integrity of the games by taking illegal substances to enhance their performance.  Fans of sport such as myself should never have to wonder if the incredible speed, strength, agility, or endurance we are witnessing are for real.  Putting a question mark in the equation adds the seed of doubt to the whole fanfare.  The dirty “athletes” should be completely ashamed of themselves!

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