So the game continues. A recent article in Reuters, Doping-Undetectable new blood boosters available says expert, discusses the fact that new ways to fool PED tests and testers are always on the horizon. In fact, with EPO like substances increases oxygen carrying red blood cells), it is not just on the horizon, it is here.
John Mehaffey reports in the linked article above that there are a number of blood-boosting drugs becoming available (for those connected) that have very similar properties to EPO (used mainly by endurance-type athletes). How numerous? According to the Reuters piece:
“Experts believe up to 100 undetectable performance-enhancing drugs similar to the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) have been designed, German doping specialist Mario Thevis said on Thursday.”
According to Thevis, the main issue with these newer substances is that they are “structurally different” enough that they are able to fool the current EPO tests available to testers. Not a good situation with the 2012 London Olympics looming this summer.
From my perspective, and especially as I learn more about how this cat and mouse game seems to be playing out, the best defense for changing the current “win at all costs” attitudes that underlie the use of these types of substances/practices, will likely have to come on the front end―a change in thought and culture.
What I mean by this is that we must educate those involved in youth sports (competitors, coaches, athletes) to adopt a philosophy―a thought process―that greatly devalues winning through the use of any illegal means. It must be viewed by competitors (athletes) as a truly tainted win, not really winning at all. We must create an environment, a new culture, where great value, prestige and honor are placed on championship won through a more foundational, internal (intrinsic) approach. One where winning through character becomes paramount.
Yes, we will always need good tests, and testers, to catch those that just don’t get it―there will always be some of those. However, a focus on both ends of the spectrum would be a much better approach. That is, if we ever hope to make a dent in the winning-at-all-costs attitudes that perpetuate the pervasive loss of perspective we currently see at many levels of our sports and youth sports culture.
The alternative, to just legalize everything, does not pan out well (in the long run) from my vantage point.