Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dumb sports law

Along with ‘Dumb Criminals’ ‘Dumb Laws’ are an internet staple.  I do not know the source for these Daily Telegraph ones but suspect some are wrong or misunderstandings and am confident that some of these are definitely wrong.

So let’s add some Dumb Sport’s Law to the mix.  Sport is often accused of being behind the curve - and never likely to catch up - on doping.  As a criminologist I’m inclined to a harm reduction perspective on drugs in society so would be for sport too.

Claiming a harm reduction motive as well as seeking to prevent performance enhancement WADA are now seeking to get in front of the curve by banning the gases xenon and argon.  As the BBC news website points out in its headline, this despite having no test for the gases!  Obviously outside of sport we’ve had subjective tests for sobriety but these have been replaced by accurate measures of alcohol in breath or blood - not same thing, as drunk drivers argue.

The BBC article points out that some doubt the benefits. They quote Dr Ben Koh who notes they are not banning the use of hypoxic tents and suggests the gases may be safer.  Moreover, Dr Chris Cooper suggests any benefit may not work in the way WADA suggest.  However, Russian medicine seems very keen on the benefits and the BBC noted the approval then of the Russian Olympic committee.

Also as a relativist, sceptic and low level athlete I incline to the view that if you take vitamins or pray because you believe it will help your performance then you are attempting to cheat.  Athletes try all the latest training methods, supplements etc.  Some are legal, some are illegal and some are legal but become illegal and less often vice versa.

If WADA could throw its weight behind proving the inefficacy of vitamins or banning them for efficacy that might be interesting.  And a test for the power of prayer?

no word yet on Krypton.

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