Should We Have TWO Classes of Athletics?

“Doped” and “Natural”?
To me, it makes sense-I think there is a case to be made, that the limits of human performance should be pushed as much as possible-if this is done with performance enhancing drugs, so much the better.
Still, I respect the viewpoint that athletes should compete without artificial aids, so retain the “non-doped” events as well.
Would the Olympics be OK with two versions of each event? That way we could have the Lance Armstrong-type athletes, whilst preserving some semblance of unaided performance.
What do you think of this proposal?
I would draw the line with performance enhancing drugs that have fatal side effects, though.

You’d still end up with people doping in the “undoped” group. Lance Armstrong didn’t dope because he believed “the limits of human performance should be pushed as much as possible”, he doped because he wanted to win and get a lot of money. Having seperate doped games wouldn’t keep similar people from doping while competeing in the undoped games for the same reason, except the partial legalization would probably make it easier for them to get their hands on the relevant drugs.

Aside from that, I don’t think there’d be much interest in openly doped games. If we just want to see how fast a person can get from point A to point B with the aid of technology, we could just put them in motorcycles.

There nothing stopping (aside from legality) someone just doing a sport on their own.

Dope up and cycle across the country or row across the Atlantic or hit a baseball for a world record.
Guinness does not seem to care. You just can not do it in sanctioned events.

Unlimited Class Wrestling!

The next BBBBIIIIIIIIIGGGG thing coming to an armored and structurally-reinforced arena near you! Genetically engineered supermen! Unstoppable cybernetic terrors! Hyper-juiced killing machines! Freakish mutant horrors beyond the sanity of man!

If it still qualifies technically as a living thing, it’s LEGAL!

Only if “Doped” includes cyborgs.

I don’t think athletes in the doping olympics would get the endorsements the supposedly clean athletes get.

Why not it’s big drug companies that make all the dopeing substances no doubt for legitimate diseases… our drugs make this guy run faster than this guys sort of thing.

No more effective counter-argument could be made.

Doping kills athletes, I really cannot imagine any sponsor wanting to get involved, not exactly great for the corporate image.

Do we as a society wish to condone doping, which causes death, merely for entertainment?

The problem is, I don’t think this is going to work. One of these classes will be more prestigious than the other for various reasons, whether it’s endorsements, how the public receives it, who the top athletes are or whatever. If it ends up being the doped version, all the non-doping athletes will feel a great deal of pressure to dope. If it’s the undoped version, we’ll basically be where we are now except with some smaller percentage who just dope condoned in their own group, which doesn’t seem like an improvement.

Having separate groups really only works if the lines are easy to determine and enforce. Gender generally falls in here, though there are a few rare cases that cause issues. Weight class is also one of these. You might also have various equipment classes, like in power lifting, some competitions allow lifting gear and others don’t and they have separate records; you can’t exactly sneak into a power lifting competition wearing a bench shirt.

Putting aside the moral implications of harm to the athletes and all of that, from a pure competitive standpoint, doping is magnitudes easier to lie about and get away with. Even with regular testing, a number of athletes can get away with it for a long time.

So, sure, I’d be fascinated to see a few athletes who would both willingly accept the risks associated with doping and readily admit what they’re doing just to see what kind of feats they could pull off, but my curiousity for that is easily outweighed by my sense of competition and fair play. And it’s not like we won’t still see new records, they’re just not under completely unlimited constraints.

Most of the people competing in the “doped” group will be breaking the law (or their physicians will). I don’t think it will do much for ratings if the police show up in the middle of Drugbowl I and arrest all the players.

Thanks for the replies! I really think that allowing scientists to aggressively promote performance-enhancing drugs would be interesting. There was a survey done years ago of some Olympic athletes-the question was: “if you could win a gold medal, at the cost of years of your life, would you do it?”
Most said they would.
Plus, we could have a grand competition-pit the winners of both classes against eachother…and let the best man/er dope , win!

Kind of redundant. The winner of the AL already plays the winner of the NL in the World Series. :wink:

I don’t think the use of PEDs is illegal. Lance Armstrong was investigated, found to have been doping but not of having broken any laws.

I see the issue as a little like mountain climbing, specifically climbing Mt. Everest. There is a big debate among mountaineers as to whether climbing Everest without oxygen is “purer” than climbing whilst breathing bottled oxygen. (To me, both activities border on madness) Is one a “better” athlete if you choose to suffocate a bit faster? In the same way, I see drug-aided athletics-if the objective is to run faster, jump higher, etc., and you can do this by taking drugs, why not? The “no-doped” option is for those who somehow believe using drugs to be non-sporting.

Altitude sickness vs oxygen is not an apt comparison in any sense whatsoever.

The use of performance enhancing drugs kills athletes, the use of oxygen at altitude is intended to preserve life.

Unless we really want to take this and compare doping with diving to a few thousand metres into the Marianas trench without a submersible - and other such stupid comparisons.

The Straight Dope® Olympics - how high can they high jump when high?

(I’d watch the women’s events exclusively if, as in ancient times, they were performed in the nude.)

There isn’t an effective way to filter athletes for unfair advantages, so I don’t see any point in any of these sorts of efforts.

Some have better genes. How is that fair?
Some have better opportunity. Some have better coaching. Some have better luck.

We are not too far away from fixing DNA itself. Will that be OK?

I see little difference from an athlete who has access to high-altitude training to increase hematocrit and 02 delivery to cells, and one who has access to blood transfusions. One athlete is blessed with good endogenous testosterone and growth hormone; the next gets his exogenously.

We should let adults decide what risks they want to take, and then sit back and enjoy them being their best. As a rule of thumb, exogenously administered “doping” of various sorts is not nearly as injurious to the body as the sports themselves. And no one is more unfair than mother nature.

Let 'em dope and reap whatever reward whatever risk they have taken gets them.

Marvel Comics did that as a storyline almost 30 years ago…

Lance Armstrong wasn’t necessarily using PEDs. All we know for sure is that he was doping.