Originally Posted by Dakkster
The things you are comparing blood doping to are all used to bring you up to speed where you have a deficiency or an injury. Blood doping isn't taking care of a deficiency. It's effectively taking your endurance to superhuman levels. THAT'S the big difference.
The problem with that argument is the assumption that everyone who is blood doping is taking it to superhuman levels. If I only do it a little bit, is that okay? And how do we define superhuman when we know that the difference between everyone's red blood cell concentration and testosterone levels are highly variable?
Did you know that what they test for with regard to things like testosterone is for a large difference from your baseline level of testosterone rather than there being a straight up maximum allowable testosterone and that these tests allow for a little bit of doping just not a lot? Is any of that fair? I don't know.
What I do know is that if you are arguing that surgery to repair a torn ligament being legal because it removes a deficiency then I don't see a difference between someone blood doping a little just so that their testosterone levels can match that of their competitors. And if you disagree then I think you are making the God's body argument to which I would say that if God gave you weak ACLs then you shouldn't be able to get a new one from a cadaver.
The other argument I would make is whether or not it's okay to use PEDs in recovering from an injury. If what's allowable is whatever helps you get back to regular strength then I'd say PEDs should be allowed during recovery because all you are doing is helping to recoup from your deficiency.
If I'm allowed to have someone else's ligament implanted in my body to recover from a torn knee then I should also be allowed to inject my own red blood cells back into myself to if it helps with my rehab. The goal either way is to get me back into playing shape. If they both get me to 100% faster then what's the issue?
A third argument for something like injecting one's own red blood cells into his body would be how is this any different than high altitude training? If the end result is simply to manipulate your body into having above average levels of red blood cells then why does it really matter how you get there? Don't we encourage athletes to push themselves to the limits of what they can be to perform? So if we allow high altitude training why wouldn't we also allow blood doping which can be done in an even more controlled manner that can also be done such that the timing occurs where the athlete can perform at his peak level.
What about using that sort of blood doping to remove home field advantages in high altitude locations like Denver? I don't know what the right answer there is, I'm just putting it out there.
One thing that concerns me is that because there is a lot less acceptance of performance enhance in the mainstream it becomes a lot more dangerous for people who do want to use it but don't necessarily know how. The dangers with a lot of performance enhancers only come in when there is abuse. So it seems to me the whole anti-steroids movement is really a foolish one, kind of like abstinence only sex education. I'd rather see us move into a world where we discuss performance enhancers as an option but not one that's for everyone but if you do want to do it, here's how to do it safely. Because the fact is, we've reached the point where steroids are out there, and they are never going away. Proper education is going to be a lot better of a deterrent than simply saying steroids are bad/illegal.
Ultimately there are a lot of different methods out there that you can use, which are safe if done properly. So as far as the safety argument goes, if there are safe ways out there then what's there to argue.
As far as fair play goes, I feel like I've touched on that earlier. Either way, the choice to use performance enhancers is really no different than many of the other choices athletes must make on the road to becoming elite and if you aren't willing to do whatever it takes to make it then maybe you just don't have what it takes.
What's really interesting to me is the contrast between performance enhancement between more complex team sports like basketball, hockey etc. and performance enhancement in very specific sports like cycling, track and field, etc. I can definitely see how in specific sports like that you'd have a lot more incentive for performance enhancement because there are only a few certain skills that need to be refined so the performance enhancement can be tailored specifically to your sport's needs, whereas with a game like hockey, you need to have endurance, hand-eye, raw strength, raw power, and any number of other skills. There's no one combination of performance enhancers that will make you better and ultimately hockey is also a sport where refining technique may take precedence over anything else so you can spend hours working on technique and not be over-training. In sports like track and field and cycling there's only so much technique to work on so the only other stuff to train is either raw power/endurance and these are aspects that can be over-trained, leading to injuries.
The reason that this fascinates me so is because with the idea of the traditional multi-sport Olympian completely getting tossed out the window with the exception of the deca/heptathletes, I wonder how much anyone really truly cares about performance enhancement in these sports. I mean, the 100 meters is already kind of a freakshow in a way that it's just about seeing how far we can push the human body. It just feels a lot like the space race in terms of just pushing the limits of what we can do. From that perspective I really just think, why not allow steroids?