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July 27, 2006



Is the "spirit of the sport" violated when events are held at high-altitude or high-temperature venues?

Just wondering ...


Is the "spirit of the sport" violated when all of the greatest athletes have a natural genetic endowment which makes victory over them unattainable to even the most hard-working and disciplined competitor who has inferior genes? Wait a minute -- isn't the elevation and worship of those with superior genes the very essence of athletic competition?

cathy :-)

Lazy eye

Would eyeglasses (or contacts) be considered improper performance enhancement in baseball? It is a use of technology to passively improve the ability to hit a baseball. If God did not give someone good eyesight what right does man have to tamper?


Gina Kolata? That's my favorite drink.


cathyf - yes, it is. Further, if you want to replicate the effects of the superior athelete's genes - increased testosterone levels for instance - you can go to jail.

That is, if you're increasing testosterone production by taking a pill or a shot. If you want to do it by eating eggs and red meat, go for it.


What about body-sculpted uniforms ?

Perhaps all sports should be done as in Athens.


What if a rider in the Tour de France, flew to Warsaw every night and slept on route. Given the plane would maintain and air pressure equivalent to 8000 ft or less, would this be illegal, thus all airplane travel would have to be banned during competition, or must they remain awake ?

This is silly.

I'm now convinced that they should all get whatever drugs they want. If they drop dead, what is the difference between that and a mountain climber falling ?


Looks like we'll just have to ban training. It's unfair!


All this crap is why I'm no longer interested in sports, period. Bunch of overtrained, overdrugged, overhyped, overpaid behemoths.


Well, it's a cost thing. If the US bought the tent thingies for all the other teams then there'd be no complaints.

Of course, to be fair, the US would also have to pay for upkeep, maintenance, and any technical support, plus we'd have to be liable for any injuries or fatalities if some idiot French guy set the altitude in the chamber to 8,000 meters instead of 8,000 feet.

Somehow, I think the spirit of the sport is compromised by having ear pieces and technology used by non-racers to help the racers, you know, race.

Landis's coach was a virtual co-rider in that time trial event, telling Floyd the radius of the turns, what speed to take, et cetera. For god's sake, let the man ride the bike and do the race himself.

If they're serious about the sport, they'll ban earpieces first and then screw around with the tents.



I read a statistic one time that while the asthma rate in the general population is 5%, the rate among olympic athletes is about 10%. (Remember after Flo-Jo won the gold and she couldn't breathe?) There were two theories -- one was that the rigors of training would convert a sub-clinical case of asthma into something that requires treatment. The other theory is a bit more provocative. Asthma is treated with steroids. Perhaps there is a particular subset of asthmatics who respond really well to treatment, with no or minimal negative side-effects. Those people could be getting a performance boost from the steroids in addition to just controlling their asthma.

Of course the 3rd theory is even more controversial -- that some athletes are faking asthma to gain access to steroids without penalty.

cathy :-)


Other larger issues aside, I think the ear pieces are simply part of the team work of the Tour.

Banning huddles in football and those signs routines that baseball managers do might take those sports back to a "purist" level.

The real problem with cycling has been the lack of good officiating. The reinstatement after disqualification of the Spanish riders after the Tour is a case in point. Kind of like the Duke lacrosse jump to judgement.

Floyd Landis said as much yesterday (I cannot find the quote now). He said that cycling tends to try its problems in public first.

None of this "scandal" with Landis makes much sense anyway.

1. Every rider was aware that officials were on a super-hunt for drugs, following the pre-Tour disqualifications.

2. Landis knew that he would be tested multiple times following his rides. (Ask Lance Armstrong how much he was tested during last year's Tour!)

3. Landis is a fantastic mountain climber. He did several runs like Stage 17 when he was with US Postal. Except he didn't win a stage. Instead he lead Lance Armstrong up the mountain stages. Landis is one of the reasons that Armstrong did so well in his string of early Tour wins.

As long as the officiating is consistent, most sports put up odd officiating. Home plate umpires don't change the strike zone in mid-game, for example.

Carol Herman

French "pre-tour" disqualitifcations included disqualifying five Spanish riders. Who later got aquitted by a Spanish judge.

Me thinks the French are very much like our democrats. As soon as they see they can't win, they sue.

Plus, like the donks, our losers don't go away. In the past, they did. Dukakis wasn't brought back as someone who almost won. Because he LOST.

Seinfeld said it best about the Silver Medal in Olympic Sports. Heck, idiot. You're a loser! You're in first place in the losing department. When you get the Bronze, you don't even feel as bad.

Landis, in the future, will be known as an American male with more testosterone than his European counterparts.

Perhaps, there will be a disqualification, then, by accusing American men have having a third leg which they use to pedal. OR, here we have an American, with a HUGE ERECTION, bicyling past wimps. To gain entry to the winner's circle, not by getting his wheel in first. But his "nose."

Well, the Tour de'france is the Tour de farce. No news about how the french handle defeat, at all. If an arab had won this race you wouldn't be hearing this whine. Heck, they wouldn't even be complaining if a camel, with a missile up its behind, shot forward.

The french creep me out.


Speaking of dopes, Time has hired Ann Marie Cox to be its Washington editor.

Great. Clowns running the show hiring more clowns to run the show.

And Cox's claim to fame is???? We all know.

This is Time magazine, folks. Not Rolling Stone.

Just terrific.


Charlie (Colorado)

Steve, Ana Marie is a vivid, funny writer, very smart, and she's hot.

It'll be interesting to see what Time gets, but I expect she'll be great fun on the pndit shows.


I guess that makes her the exact inverse of Cooper.

(So Time thought, "Yeah, change is good!")

cathy :-)


Ana Marie is a vivid, funny writer, very smart, and she's hot

Agreed, she writes well.

But as Washington editor?

If she wants to write columns for the magazine, fine. But keep her away from the news side, please.

Plus, she's not my type. Pixie smixie. I like women, not girls.



gettting back to the real topic of this subject ...

So why is cortisone acceptable? It violates the precepts that the 'tent-complainers' are claiming to protect.


Very very interesting update on Landis:


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