It is so easy to sit and cast judgment on Lance Armstrong and other U.S. cyclists that admitted to doping for years. The same mentality is directed to athletes like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, or other athletes detected of using steroids in their careers. When I sat in lecture today learning of the Eastern Germans, the U.S. cyclists, and many other Olympic athletes stripped of their medals due to performance enhancing drugs or blood doping I couldn’t help but think about what I would do in the same scenario. I’d love to say I’d be the noble one and say no performance enhancing drugs, but I don’t think I’d be as honorable as I wish.
From an athlete’s perspective I completely understand the burning desire to improve your game and be the best of the best. If I were on that cycling team and all of my teammates around me were getting all of the press and praise and accolades of a winner, yet I was riding alongside them struggling to keep up because I was the only one not doping, it’d downright piss me off. It wouldn’t even be a fair fight and I’d feel like I had to dope just to compete. I’d always wonder if I could’ve beaten them if I were “at their level” too.
This fact makes me sad because it kind of defeats one of the greatest phenomenons of sports: hard work pays off. Even the hardest working individual stands no chance against an individual who may be training slightly less, yet is taking performance enhancing drugs or doping. It also is unfortunate that there is no way to prove the steroid use in the early 1980’s when several world records were set because now it might be physically impossible for any individual, no matter how hard they train or how many natural physiological advances they have, to break these records. They shouldn’t even be counted as records because they were artificially set.