Drugs in Sport... A smelly game

Media headlines; Cycling, Rugby and now Australian Rules football. We would be led to believe it is performance that draws sporting talent to use what is sparsely described as illicit performance enhancing drugs. Take away the word money and the real reason would have been eradicated.

776 BC the Greeks held the first Olympiad, a religious and athletic festival. The Greeks at this time were a waring nation and visiting competitors were permitted to pass through war zones unhindered protected by the God Zeus. Can we consider the fact that performance enhancing drugs were used during these times; some would have had access to powerful exotic foods denied to others, a banana for example. Common choice of  athletes today for energy especially cyclists, would there been a move by governing Greek bodies post 776 to have the banana banned due to an unfair advantage among those where the herb was available.

We would remember the rather unladylike looking Chinese swim teams that have fronted some recent Olympics, had they trained so hard that the common appearance of their body redeveloped or was it assisted by ingested or injected substances, the modern banana streaking ahead with assistance from the industrial revolution.

A medal was all that an Olympian had in mind when training at 4 in the morning before heading off to work, an amateur event. The struggling amateur struggling financially with one goal in mind firm believer in the banana. Enter politics, boycotts, bureaucratic interference, and masses of money, things get very smelly, need we say more.

Just how smelly can things get when big business and governments get involved in sport and  the Olympics, cycling, rugby and Aussie rules are now just big business.

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Let’s go back to the 60s, the Vietnam War, hippies and the rise of educated youth. There was a promising plant called hemp, the fibre was easily grown, could be eaten or made into a host of things including clothing, and could also have brought down the powerful cotton industry. Hemp had a sister plant called cannabis sativa, high in Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC this plant was used as a recreational drug similar to alcohol, enter the powerful alcohol lobby that even prohibition failed to contain. With enemies in big business and government hemp was doomed; it was damned with a highly successful adverting campaign. Big business and governments had no control over its production; it could be grown in the back yard or massive fields in mind blowing quantities. It was a clear and valid alternative to cotton and a definite threat to the sale of alcoholic beverages. Big business lobbied governments and hemp along with all it’s by products were banned in the western world.

Not being a great supporter of people whom are drunk, stoned and outside of capable control of motor or mind functions to a great extent, persons on recreational drugs such as alcohol can now be seen trashing the streets of any city incapable of controlling indulgence, harming themselves and others, trashing the reputation of those whom recreate in a responsible manner. Hospitals are full of drunk, stoned and to an increasing extent people affected by more powerful recreational drugs such as cocaine and speed.

The growing percentage of youth who’s lives have been shattered by this endless onslaught of big business lobbying and advertising and government tolerance has now been joined by an endless queue of sporting professionals. Encouraged and in some cases no doubt, demanding everyone, be at the top of the leader board, personal athletic performance has become a combination of genetics, bio mechanics.

The pressure is applied by big money expecting returns in their investment, sounds like the real estate industry, or perhaps the banking industry. As many athletes are falling as small business’s, its happening every day, whom is really to blame. The humble banana is still my choice of daily herb.

photo credit: fabbriciuse via photopin cc