I really enjoyed learning about all of different ways to optimize performance this week. I especially liked getting into the ethics of what was ok and what wasn’t. Coincidentally, a couple weeks ago, after the Lance Armstrong bust hit the media, my friends were debating the very ethics that we’ve been discussing in class. What makes one advantage ethical and another not? Does it come down to health risk? Is it ok if we’re born with such an advantage like Caster Semenya?
Though I have never taken any performance enhancing drugs past a vitamin D supplement or Tylenol, I honestly think that they are kind of cool. I don’t mean to condone the use of them in the Olympics to beat out natural competitors. Ethically, under the premise of the Olympic games, that is wrong. What I am trying to draw attention to is how cool it is that humans have isolated various means of pushing their bodies past the natural limit. Maybe it isn’t safe, but there is something to be said for the thrill at moving at speeds faster than any other human, faster than humans should be able to move. Its super-human.
` It would be interesting to see even informal competitions where people were allowed to use whatever method of performance enhancement they choose, be it EPO, or amphetamines or whatever. People do dangerous things all the time that put their life at risk or decrease their life span. Cliff jumping, for example strikes me as a one such sport – very cool but very dangerous. I saw an IMAX documentary this year, which claimed that one in three cliff jumpers die on a jump. Personally, as someone who would prefer to live long and healthy I do not wish to engage in such activities, but as a scientist interested in human limits I think it is intellectually fascinating.
Who gets to draw the ethical line anyways? Caffeine is ok, but Coke isn’t – except it is, just not where we live. I realize at this point I may sound like a high-risk druggy. That’s fine. I just want to play devil’s advocate and highlight some of the enticing aspects of banned practices or substances. Scientifically and philosophically it is an interesting concept to kick around.