- the 10% who believe sport is now clean and that dopers account for as little as 1% of elite athletes;
- the 10% who believe sport is every bit as dirty today as it has ever been; that the sophistication of drug programs remains a couple steps ahead of the corrupt AD powers that be; and
- the 80% in the middle who are either ignorant on the topic or are ambivalent -- they just don't care
Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a right to his or her opinion. But, for those who take the stance of defending sport as clean and who contend that athletes must be considered clean unless there is absolute proof to the contrary, the argument breaks down fairly quickly and definitively. Yes, they demand incontrovertible proof of cheating to declare any given athlete in any given sport a cheater. This is a strawman stance at best and, at the least, defies logic.
- "Trust in the science!"
- "Trust in the AD process because it's the best we've got!"
- "Trust in the athletes because they are nice people!"; and to those who disbelieve in what they see
- "Go back into your cave you trolls because all you do is spout innuendo of guilt! You have zero proof!"
If those who disbelieve what they're seeing try to turn that around by saying, "Show us proof that we should believe in these top-level athletes," they are met with:
- personal verbal attacks
- emphatic statements about burden of proof being on the accusers, not on the teams and athletes
All of this only diminishes the stance of those who say we need to believe. The internet and the ability to share so much information today has vaulted us into an era where the accessibility to that information has tilted the discussion firmly in the favor of those who choose to take off the rose-tinted glasses and apply heavy skepticism to the feats of strength, speed, power and endurance we all witness:
- In track & field, the women's 3,000 steeplechase WR was recently obliterated by 8 seconds -- more than 50 meters. The previous record holder was then officially investigated for EPO use. This WR performance was also a 15-second PR -- so, an improvement of 100 meters;
- Mo Farah's transformation is not suspect because of how late in his career it occurred, though this is certainly questionable. Nor, is it head scratching because of how fast his times became. The BIG reason his performances became and still are highly suspect is because of his finishing speed. He's running a sub-13:00 5k with a finishing lap of 51-52 seconds. And crossing the line looking fresh as a daisy. This is absolutely ludicrous;
- In swimming, the cases of a single athlete winning a handful or more of world championship races, and when the cumulative fatigue should be bringing that swimmer to their knees yet they somehow beat all single race swimmers who are much fresher. And we're to believe training more, wanting it more and cupping for recovery are the reasons;
- In a team sport like cycling, we are asked to believe in team leaders for the Grand Tours as clean, whether their career progression is inconceivable or, to a degree, at least not plausible:
- but whether you've won the atomic jockstrap race; or
- used to win a multi-minute race on the velodrome; or
- even have won a flat one-day semi-Classic
- None of this equates or even correlates to Grand Tour podium pedigree. To think any of it does is an insult not only to intelligence but also to those riders who showed stage race promise and pedigree from the beginning of their pro careers. Winning a GT is something few cyclists achieve and it is a career-long pursuit -- not something you fall into or a transformation that can occur in a few short years -- forget about several weeks;
- In a team sport like basketball, we see athletes who look like taller, leaner versions of NFL linebackers. We compare NBA player physiques from the 80s and previously to those of the 90s and beyond, and it's like we're looking at humans vs aliens;
- Soccer, rugby, you name it -- no different.
Insane! All of it. Insane.
In the case of cycling, where it becomes nonsensical is when we are supposed to believe in a rider who has won or can win one of the 3 GTs. He's clean for myriad reasons -- I know him; he's a good guy; he's outspoken against PEDs; he's never tested positive; and so on. But, in order to believe a rider is clean, you MUST also believe the following:
- in a rigorous, 3-week race, clean can win -- not just beat, but emerge victorious -- against cheating riders;
- that the team surrounding and supporting that athlete is also entirely clean -- otherwise, how could he be the team leader if the other riders are cheating?;
- that the team surrounding and supporting that athlete are also stronger than any of the cheaters that are certainly in the peloton;
- that ALL the other contenders and teams are likewise clean; and
- that only those not talented enough to be World Tour riders and winners cheat, in order to make up for their physiological inadequacies
There are more points to support this, I'm sure. But, if you question any of these points, then your sycophancy around clean riding caves in immediately.
We are also fed so much deflection, and I'm both disappointed and dismayed by how easy the general public and the apologists lap it up. We see narcissistic videos of LeBron doing deadlifts during the NBA playoffs and hear about how dedicated he is and how he works so much harder than anyone else. While no one can dispute his talent, it would be ridiculous to believe he's not hoped up on some PED cocktail. Look here, not there.
The examples are endless and can be discussed about any sport on the planet.
And don't get me started on the grey area horseshit. Talking about the grey area is the apologist way to excuse cheating. Cheating is about intent. There is no grey area with motive.
Lastly, as I've said many times, patterns are proof. We know unequivocally what a doping athlete looks like because there have been enough of the elites who have been popped -- not by AD organizations but rather by whistleblowers, so there's that endemic failure to the AD system to remember as well -- that we can fairly easily size-up other athletes and do a side-by-side comparison -- athlete in question vs known doper. If they look eerily similar, then, sorry, the athlete in question is a doper.
Because remember ... elite sport is rife with doping. And, make no mistake, dopers are not lazy athletes. If anything, they work harder because the PED cocktail they are on allows for faster recovery between sessions as well as the ability to work harder during those sessions. A clean athlete simply cannot compete with that -- unless you believe any given sport is entirely clean. That the history of cheating and doping and match fixing has been completely eradicated.
But, we are told to take heart. That AD is working. Sacrificial lambs are led to the slaughter and offered up as examples of the AD system working. What is curious is that nearly every single one of them is a second- or third-tier athlete. When is the last time that you read about a top-level elite being caught by an AD organization rather than a whistleblower or investigation? Even the more recent and bizarre cases with Russian athletes and Kenyan runners are in now way glowing examples of the AD system working. So, the myth of "only those not good enough are the ones who cheat" gets perpetuated -- because the narrative that elites are clean HAS to be protected.
Otherwise, the entire world of sport gets exposed for the complete and utter sham it is.
Look here, not there.