Thursday, July 03, 2008

How to Stop Doping in Sports

I've just watched a sports program on HBO that, in one of its segments, addressed blood doping in cycling competitions. One professional team pledges to keep its members "clean" by subjecting them to very rigorous testing. That is, they are subjected to random testing approximately every two weeks, and their blood and urine are examined not for the presence of specific illegal drugs or hormones, which might be difficult or impossible to detect in savvy users, but for evidence of changes in blood or body chemistry that would evidence the use of improper drugs or hormones. In other words, when one uses agents designed to enhance athletic performance, they produce detectable changes that couldn't occur unless these agents were used.

This cycling team is employing these tactics to rescue professional cycling from the brink of demise from all the doping scandals that have plagued it. It sounds to me like a great idea with applicability to a broad range of sports that now have severe credibility problems.

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