September 08, 2016 – Ok, I am going to give you some hypothetical situations and I want you to tell me if you think that it is doping or not. In all of these situations the person (athlete) can live a normal life but when they do their sport, especially at the maximum level needed in order to be successful, they are unable to compete with others due to a genetic deficiency.
The athlete competes in weight lifting and is fairly strong but is unable to lift the same amount of weight as his/her peers is a weight lifting contest. It is not a lack of training but a lack of testosterone in the body. Should the athlete be allowed to take testosterone to build up their muscles so that they can lift more weight?
The athlete loves to train and knows that in order to be competitive with the best athletes in their sport he/she will have to train more. This athlete has tried to train more, but gets really tired and is unable to recover fast enough between workouts. Should this athlete be allowed to take steroids or other drugs to help to recover faster?
The athlete competes in a sport where oxygen transport and a high VO2 max is very important. At rest or in easy training the athlete has no problem transporting enough 02 but at max effort it is not enough. Should this athlete be allowed to use EPO so that they can transport more 02 and be competitive with the best in the world?
The athlete has no problem breathing normally at rest or when training easily but when this athlete is working at near maximum levels he/she wheezes heavily especially in cold weather or at altitude. Should this athlete be allowed to take asthma medication in order to breathe better in these situations?
What do you think? Put aside any bias you might have for or against certain athletes or teams to help you to make your decisions. Are these situations all the same or is each one different from the other?
Where do you draw the line? What is therapeutic and what is doping? What is the difference between helping a deficiency and performance enhancing?
Should it make any difference how much of a drug you take? If I take a little bit and it makes me feel better, is that ok? If I take more than a certain amount, how much do I need to take before it is deemed to be performance enhancing? Keep in mind that everyone reacts to every drug differently and different doses have different results and side effects for different people.