Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Sports, Icons, and PEDs
Written by T.D Moody
In the wake of the revelation that one of sports biggest celebrities and icons Lance Armstsrong, admitted to using performance enhancing drugs(PEDs) throughout his career, I am reminded yet again that far too often the adoration and praise heaped on sports figures if and when found out to be unwarranted and/or ill gotten has devastating consequences for all parties involved.
This is especially true in my mind even more so for us the fans. The people who blindly believe in their favorite sports heroes being clean despite the cries of numerous detractors. In the case of Lance Armstrong the story is even bigger because of the tie to the fight against Cancer. Cancer fighter and survivor and oh by the way 7 time winner of the Tour de France was the story that everyone remembers when first hearing the name Lance Armstrong.
Now it will conjure the image of one of sports biggest frauds and liars ever. A man who successfully for well over a decade deceived, defrauded, and ruined in some cases people lives and careers all the while extolling his innocence vehemently. I certainly like most who wore the yellow Live Strong bracelet am all for fighting cancer and finding a cure but this has to be one of the sickest moments in history I can recall because of the taint attached to it. Now stripped of all his titles and accolades will he be stripped of some of that enormous wealth he amassed?
I remember the countless interviews where Lance stated much like Marion Jones did once upon a time, that he was clean and innocent of the charges and accusations being leveled against him. I wanted to believe so badly that there were just a few haters who were jealous of the success and celebrity Lance had achieved.
I used to argue with many a sports fan that he hasn’t failed a test yet whereas his detractors have. Now I look around and think who is clean these days? How can we be sure? Now no matter what sport you pick if you look at someone doing something that hadn’t been done before a natural suspicion jumps to the forefront that they must be on some PED that there isn’t a test for yet.
Usain Bolt the world’s fastest human being is definitely on the radar and in the cross hairs next in my opinion. Here is a man who has dominated the world of Track & Field for two straight olympics. The fashion in which he’s dominated his closest competitors only now lends to my thinking that he too is potentially a fraud utilizing a new PED that isn’t detected yet and that has no current test available to accurately detect it. I mean just think back a little bit.
All of a sudden Jamaica is producing the world’s fastest men and women at the same time. I’m not ready to say they are cheating but coincidence these days has me thinking far more skeptically. Carl Lewis raised this notion following Bolts repeat performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Bolt said he’d lost all respect for Lewis and that Lewis just wanted some attention because no one was really talking about him. Time will tell whether those sentiments by Bolt are true.
I assume everyone remembers BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) and all the pro sports athletes whose names were linked to it. Among the many names mentioned was Marion Jones. Of course I’m sure there will be many who will say in support of Lance so what if he cheated. At that time and even today cycling was and still is a dirty sport, where more often than not, the top names involved are using PEDs to gain a competitive edge over the field.
Lance just happened to be the best cheater of them all. This begs the question, if we assume that a large percentage of a pro sport is using PEDs, should it be allowed that everyone can use PEDs and thereby level the playing field?
There was a documentary I saw years ago on steroids and PEDs called “Bigger, Stronger, Faster”. I recommend that everyone watch that documentary to have a better understanding of the psychology behind using PEDs and how we as spectators view athletes when they excel at their chosen sport with the aid of PEDs. What does all this mean for the truly clean athletes? Will there be two pro sports leagues whose subcategories of athletes are PED Athletes and Non PED athletes?
When I imagine if that were to be the future of sports, I also wonder how difficult would it be to separate the PED athlete from the Non PED athlete. The sophisticated tests required to verify athletes belonging to either category has me thinking of the movie Gattaca.
Think about all the kids who are recruited at an early age as the next big thing for sports. High school athletes have been exposed to steroids as well. I’m convinced that what we as the public know now or think about steroids is only the tip of the ice berg.
Major League Baseball is another shining example of the hypocrisy. I don’t advocate cheating but I do have a better understanding behind the motivation and temptation to cheat. This year MLB inducted none of the names on this current year’s ballot.
The taint swirling around the nominees names was enough for Baseball and it’s Hall of Fame voters to turn their backs on the players they once raved about before suspected steroid use came to the fore front with the Mitchell Report. Remember MLB was losing its fan base and the steroid era with all these hitters smashing home runs brought fans not to mention excitement to the national past time once again. I still recall the commercials that said “Chicks dig the long ball”.
Now MLB shuns the players who took PEDs that benefited not only them but the sport itself. I call that shameful and a scandal. To completely ignore an era that did happen in the annals of history is pure BS!!! I say acknowledge the era, induct the Hall of Famers, and put the asterik in its place (PED use from 19– to —-). Let’s not forget the MLB season is a long 162 games not including the post season.
I’ve heard of the players even in the many decades prior to the “Steroid Era” taking amphetamines in order to be able to play all the back to back to back games they encounter throughout the season. Should every player who ever took “greenies”, or amphetamines be banned from ever being considered for the Hall of Fame too? You can view the entire Mitchell Report at MLB.com
Lastly, if we stop for a moment to consider the odds of an athlete making it to the pro-level vying for a limited amount of high salaried jobs and endorsements the competition alone mandates that one come up with an edge that makes them stand out in the crowded field.
Now think about this, how many colleges are there in the country with sports programs? How many athletes declare for a pro sport draft each year no matter the sport? How many spots are available each year? What’s the average life span of a pro career? When these questions get asked and answered honestly we get a much better sense of what’s happening and why.
For now, Lance Armstrong will live atop the list of history’s biggest frauds and liars. Will his admissions soften that stance? Only time will tell. The truth will set you free. Maybe this admission is just what Lance was looking for… to be set free. Think of all the time and energy and effort spent defending and hiding all the lies, all the lawsuits against anyone who dared to stand against him. It must be a huge weight off his mind to finally admit the truth he’s denied for so long.
At the end of the day we’re all human and we all make mistakes. The admission is at the very least one step in the right direction and road to redemption. I’m sure in the coming days and weeks and months Lance will have much more to say especially when pertaining to those who he vilified all while they decried his innocence. I’ve included images below gathered from the net of now infamous sports heroes.
Does anybody remember Ben Johnson? In the 1988 Olympics, the Canadian sprinter beat Carl Lewis in the 100m dash only to be stripped of his gold medal later after a positive result for a steroid was found in his post race test.