Sunday 7 October 2007

Me and Ms Dope (Jones)

Little tube views

In September 2000 from the little television in my functional but adequately furnished apartment, I stayed up through the night to watch the Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Sir Steve Redgrave took a fifth Olympic gold, Jonathan Edwards skipped twice and landed on gold, Denise Leis with the most perfectly formed 6-pack on a human-being took it for the Heptathlon, I think Jason Queally was the first gold on the bikes and Stephanie Cook won the posh games named the modern pentathlon – Posh because the five disciplines are Shooting, Fencing, Swimming, Riding, and Cross-country running – hardly the kind of stuff an inner-city kid would be doing the grunts to.

Team GB did so well, at the same time, we were waiting to see Cathy Freeman the Australian of aboriginal heritage take the games away for a 400m gold which she did to a great roar. The other big deal was Marion Jones vying for 5 gold medals and ending up with 3 gold medals and 2 bronze medals.

From what we saw of the 100m, 200m and 4x400m, Ms Jones wiped the floor with all her competitors, even I cheered as I almost broke the furniture in my living room with ululation.

My friends all dope

Now, Marion Jones has been no stranger to doping allegations, simply by association, her husband, boyfriends, trainers and associates have been implicated, indicted and sanctioned for doping, she somehow seemed to stand out as the shining beacon amongst the dregs of dishonesty.

However, the simple thing is, if the tests cannot catch you, then they cannot nail you – as far as the Sydney Olympics were concerned, Marion Jones fooled the system and got away with it, and she did get away with it until two days ago.

Apart from the EPO doping failure of her “A” sample and the consequent announcement by her lawyer of a clear “B” sample, Lady Marion Jones has never been caught doping and that should go on the record for all to see.

She was never caught

I am taking this stance because the sporting associations are going on about their testing regimes working and that is why Marion Jones was caught, well, that is a big fat lie.

All evidence against her has been circumstantial witnessed by other tainted athletes and associates all of which is in need of corroboration considering science and testing regimes did not uncover any of those infringements.

Marion Jones was in dire financial circumstances and her guilt by association meant that organisers of major events were reluctant to invite her and endorsements were running dry.

We would not have entered into the secret world of Ms Jones’ doping if she had not been facing matters unrelated to sports and some bright spark investigator had offered a plea-bargain to unravel the real facts. She confessed because of other extenuating circumstances and that is the fact.

Doping ahead of anti-doping

Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) would never have been detectable if a syringe of the material had not been passed to the United States Anti-Doping Agency for analysis and in that light, there is no telling what other doping and masking agent masquerading as food supplements is being ingested or injected to create super-humans pretending to do nominally human feats so perfectly.

There is no doubt that I am disappointed in Marion Jones though I wonder about the efficacy of drug testing and the politics that messes up the facts as in the case of Lance Armstrong (the 7-time winner of the Tour de France) or worse still with Floyd Landis the winner in 2006 who lost his appeal recently.

Drug-assisted medals?

Drugs do change the nature of the competition and they give the dishonest an unfair advantage over others, it may be that games and results would have to be reclassified as drug-free or drug-assisted wins, because I doubt if people who employ erectile dysfunction drugs would get penalised for being able to keep it up longer than others, outrageous as this might sound.

I am disillusioned about the effect of drugs on sport, I think the anti-doping regime is a cat-and-mouse game, the tests would somewhat have to go beyond just testing urine samples, but going for blood has serious implications and ramifications along with the additional information a sample of blood might expose completely unrelated to sport.

Watching Marion Jones’ sob-story left me seriously un-amused and disgusted though she had to do it, the simple matter of returning the medals she “stole” are now at issue; someone is going to be the winner of a 100 metre dash 7 years after the race. Amazing what drugs do to speed or is it what speed does to drugs?

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