With the Rio Olympics barely 90 days away, we will no doubt be hearing lots about performance enhancing drugs. The status of a number of Russian athletes is still unclear in the aftermath of a major doping scandal in that country.
Major league baseball and other professional sports are getting their share of attention as well. Chris Colabello, a lesser light with the Toronto Blue Jays is serving an 80 game suspension after testing positive. Retired superstars like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds will never make it into Cooperstown, despite vigorous denials that their achievements were tainted by steroids.
The Canadian Football League, which tried for a long time to pretend that the problem didn’t exist, will be conducting random tests this season. Despite all of these efforts, it seems obvious that many elite athletes, possibly a majority of them, who are determined to win, whether it be for big money or merely the thrill of being a champion, are prepared to take the risk of getting caught.
It must also suggest that there’s a formidable industry involving medical and pharmaceutical professionals whose mission in life is to find new and better potions to give competitors what used to be regarded as an unfair advantage. One of the main arguments that used to be made in favour of strict testing and enforcement was that these superb athletes are role models for our youth, and they must be seen to be ‘pure’.
Would that it were so, but the evidence suggests otherwise. After all, as Justin would say, it’s 2016 and there will soon be pot in every chicken in Canada. Sorry about that .
I’m Roger Currie