Every four years for more than 100 years, we have marvelled at the feats of men and women who can throw farther and run faster than anyone else has ever done before. But when they do any of these endeavours – a little too well, we start to wonder whether they have had more assistance than just a 24-hour, seven day a week, calorie-controlled training regime.
At the London Olympics, it is Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen who is under suspicion because she swims faster than most blokes – including the current world champion. And it remains to be seen whether her efforts are down to pure hard work and precocious talent or something more sinister.
In 1972 (what a great year that was), according to Wikipedia, Rick De Mont was stripped of his 400m freestyle gold medal because he was a little too fond of ephedrine – but from I understand a lot of people were quite fond of ephedrine in the 70s so I think that may have been a little harsh.
As you scan down the list of athletes who have been caught using banned substances during the Olympics over the past 40 years, there are a few sports that feature more prominently than others. Weight-lifting is obviously very regularly on the list, as is athletics. But the majority of those who got caught didn’t even win a medal which makes me wonder why they even bothered to take performance-enhancing additives at all.
Over the past decade or so, there has been an increase in the number of equestrian competitors who were disqualified for giving banned substances to their horses, which I find quite funny – especially the Irish horse named Waterford Crystal that was stripped of its individual jumping medal for being, well, a little too high when it was jumping.
The array of performance-enhancing drugs that are available these days is becoming harder and harder for sports officials to detect so I suggest that everyone at the Olympics be able to take anything they want too so it can truly be a level playing field once again.
Perhaps they can even invent some new sports? One new sport might be the dancetathlon. This could involve competitors taking large quantities of ecstasy and then seeing who can dance the longest on top of a wobbly table while wearing really small sparkly shorts.
Or perhaps the talkathon, where competitors snort very big lines of speed and then see who can fit the most words into the most sentences over the course of, say, two hours.
Another idea might be the gungathon, where contestants race each other in rolling the perfect joint. Perhaps they could be scored on the time taken to roll said spliff, but also how “perfect” the joint is when judged against criteria including maximum stone potential. I fear, however, that the Jamaicans or Kiwis might win this race every time though.
Finally, perhaps a new event might be the BC (beer and ciggies – which I know aren’t really performance-enhancing substances) marathon. This could involve teams of beer monsters and heavy smokers who run around and around the 400m track. The winning team would actually be any of the contestants who didn’t have a heart attack. It sure would beat watching the judo.