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Off-topic: bring on the freak olympics

In a slight deviation from typical technology industry topics, I question whether the problem of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs might not be dealt with in more simple fashion. Let them.
Written by John Carroll, Contributor
A gold medalist in the 2024 Olympics

I'm not much of a sports fan. For whatever reason, the sports appreciation part of my brain never fully developed, except perhaps for an enjoyment of Irish Hurling, which, as a combination of soccer, baseball, rugby, hockey, and spoon racing, is probably the weirdest - and fastest moving - game ever played.

Lots of other people are losing their taste for sports, too, partly due to a growing awareness that many athletes cheat by using banned chemical substances. The winner of the recent Tour de France, Floyd Landis, may well have been caught in his attempt, though the final reckoning won't come until this weekend. Barry Bonds, the baseball slugger who recently surpassed Babe Ruth's home run average, lives under constant suspicion of use of performance-enhancing drugs. Olympic gold medalists aren't even free of charges.

Well, there's a simple solution to all this. Bring on the freak Olympics.

Create a league where athletes are allowed to ingest as many performance enhancing substances as they want. This will be a sharp contrast to the "human league" (which bears no relation to a certain cheesy 80s band), where testing positive for even a hint of the stuff guarantees a lifetime ban. In other words, no more "my massage therapist snuck testosterone into the rubbing oil" defenses. If you test positive for ANY reason, you don't get to play among humans anymore.

That doesn't mean you can't play professional sports, just that your teammates may resemble something out of a circus tent.  So, let's bring it on! I want football players who are 600 pounds of pure muscle, basketball players who are ten feet tall with arms that reach down to their knees, and swimmers who've genetically altered themselves so that they have flippers instead of feet. I may not be much of a sports buff, but I would watch that!

I'm not too concerned that their decision to alter themselves chemically will inspire me to do the same. I live in LA, and see on a regular basis people who have enough tattoos to qualify themselves as bona fide comic books, or have more metal piercing their bodies than victims of Tomás de Torquemada's iron maiden. I have NEVER felt compelled to go out and do the same.

But what about the children? Wouldn't they be attracted to steroids given the open and flagrant use of them by well-known athletes?

I doubt it. The problem with the current anti-enhancement regime is that it hasn't really stopped athletes from using them, so much as made them very careful to ensure that use of the banned substances is not apparent to outsiders. Therefore, they use them in smaller quantities than they otherwise would, and work very hard to keep the physical side effects of these substances hidden.

In contrast, a freak olympics would be composed of people who use performance enhancing substances with gusto. I somehow think the spectacle of women with beards and deep voices and men with breasts and rampaging acne (or in a GM world, flippers for feet) would get the message across that "performance enhancing drugs are bad" better than all the public education commercials in the world.

Teenagers may be insane, but they are not stupid.

It's Friday. Be Happy. And, I'm not completely serious (or am I...).

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