Doping in amateur sport

DeVlaeminck
DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,787
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/38884801

Is it really a crisis? About 8% have taken steroids - I presume they mean without prescription - but it's nearly all gym bunnies and rugby players trying to bulk up isn't it?

I know we've had a few cases of epo use in amateur cycling but is doping really a major problem in amateur sport ? I've never really considered it but would the right kind of steroid use give an amateur cyclist a significant edge ? The more I think about how professional a lot of amateurs are now with their coaching, kit etc maybe it's more of a thing than I realised.
[Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
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Comments

  • homers_double
    homers_double Posts: 8,106
    I've heard a rumor of a local guy who's pretty handy on a bike who entererd a race and a doping tent was in place. He scooted away sharpish after doing quite well.

    Again, hearsay and I wonder why a doping tent would be there at a local race but there you go...
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    I've heard a rumor of a local guy who's pretty handy on a bike who entererd a race and a doping tent was in place. He scooted away sharpish after doing quite well.

    Again, hearsay and I wonder why a doping tent would be there at a local race but there you go...

    In principle, doping control can turn up anywhere they feel like, although they may only attend local events after a tip-off or similar. The use of the phrase 'doping tent' has me questioning the veracity of such a claim, hearsay or not.
  • bobmcstuff
    bobmcstuff Posts: 11,238
    As to whether it's just rugby players and gym bunnies. There's one guy I've ridden with in the past at chaingangs who does triathlons and who I would put money on taking something - he's really built, much more than you expect for a triathlete (ironman, so usually fairly lean). This probably means he's making himself slower, so I assume he does it for the looks rather than to get a faster ironman.

    I remember reading a couple of years ago that it was relatively prevalent in ironman circles, and a Google suggests there have been a fair few bans there.

    Knew a guy at school who took steroids to look buff. Don't think he did any competitive sports though, but it was a while back.

    Testosterone is certainly accessible and would offer a performance benefit (mostly in recovery I think?). "The doper next door" by Andrew Tilin gives one guy's account of taking hormones inc testosterone as an amateur cyclist, and they were legitimately prescribed to him by a doctor. Obviously it's much easier to get hold of prescription drugs in the States but I assume you could employ a similar tactic to get testosterone prescribed here.
  • The average rate of use of prohibited substances and methods for amateur cycling is about the same as it is for most sports. Disturbingly common.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I'm surprised there's money left after all the shiny bits to buy.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,378
    In one of my local races back in the 90s the anti-doping team turned up. One person there had been a bit of suspicion around abandoned during the race but they did catch someone else who claimed it was from hayfever treatment. Whilst he was a decent 1st cat and Welsh international I can certainly understand and believe that back in those days that few riders would have really considered medication they were taking. After all, who expects to be tested in a local 1/2/3 race?

    Steroid use is, I suspect, more a side effect of gym culture and those who want to look good also being involved in sport rather than a concerted effort to cheat in the sport itself. It has always seemed to be the main reason there are a lot of amateur / semi-pro rugby players on the banned list.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention
    left the forum March 2023
  • bobmcstuff
    bobmcstuff Posts: 11,238
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention

    Personally, while I like being competitive with other people (despite in the grand scheme of things I am pretty poor), I like putting in the training and seeing the improvements. I like going from getting dropped to dropping people and being able to clearly trace it back to the hard work I put in.

    It would be like playing a computer game or doing a mental puzzle that was really easy - what's the point?

    Also I'm really squeamish about needles and drugs (especially hormones), so...
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention
    But surely the logical conclusion of this argument is that we'd all be better off just lying on our beds injecting heroin?
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention
    But surely the logical conclusion of this argument is that we'd all be better off just lying on our beds injecting heroin?

    If it didn't have so many side effects, then yes, of course... problem is it does... but the side effects of PED can be managed if one is smart... look at Cipollini, he seems alright to me... not much wrong with Virenque or Millar either... even Armstrong looks pretty fit and healthy to me...
    left the forum March 2023
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bobmcstuff wrote:

    It would be like playing a computer game or doing a mental puzzle that was really easy - what's the point?

    The racing is equally hard, but you'd be racing for more exciting placings than "somewhere in the middle of the bunch"... training might become more bearable, or you will train harder, up to you.

    I am not endorsing PED, but I perfectly understand why even amateurs take them... it's not rocket science why
    left the forum March 2023
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    bompington wrote:
    But surely the logical conclusion of this argument is that we'd all be better off just lying on our beds injecting heroin?

    If it didn't have so many side effects, then yes, of course... problem is it does... but the side effects of PED can be managed if one is smart... look at Cipollini, he seems alright to me... not much wrong with Virenque or Millar either... even Armstrong looks pretty fit and healthy to me...
    So the physical side effects are the only consequences we need to worry about?
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    So the physical side effects are the only consequences we need to worry about?

    Most former dopers seem to live a long and healthy life and over the years they have benefitted from doping. Millar would have not been in the position he is now without doping, he would be unknown, one of the many that didn't quite make it.Maybe working in a call centre, or at best being a cycle mechanic for very little money. A few end up badly, think Pantani, Jimenez... but they are a minority... if you are after your slice of glory, fake or not, it seems a very reasonable path to take, especially if you convince yourself they are all at it, which is an easy thing to do... just go on a forum... :mrgreen:
    left the forum March 2023
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention

    I think your percentages are a bit overrating the drugs ? Sure there is an improvement but its because it lets you train harder and harder and recover better. You can't just put your feet up and pop a pill and get better ?

    It's a line that you cross - I'd no more dope than I'd shoplift or drop litter.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    Fenix wrote:
    On the other hand, if you can get 10% better with an injection, I feel a bit sorry for those who aim at improving 5% with horrendously punishing training sessions... it seems a no brainer which way to go... don't understand why people are surprised, would you not take another road if the motorway is jammed?

    I suppose there is the moral argument, but even more so, we are talking about local races, not olympic medals, the damage to your reputation is hardly worth mention

    I think your percentages are a bit overrating the drugs ? Sure there is an improvement but its because it lets you train harder and harder and recover better. You can't just put your feet up and pop a pill and get better ?

    It's a line that you cross - I'd no more dope than I'd shoplift or drop litter.

    Depends... blood doping is probably beyond most amateurs, but that can really turn donkeys into race horses. The best climbers of this generation are significantly slower than the best climbers of the late 1990s, we are talking about 100 mt/h in VAM, which means minutes up at HC climb. I suspect 1996 Rijs would drop 2016 Froome up a mountain... you do your maths.

    Of course training is still part of the game, but if you see your hard work yielding crumbs, you might think maybe with the right drugs and the same effort you can get a slice of the action... it's a legitimate thought, if not legit... :roll:
    left the forum March 2023
  • Matthewfalle
    Matthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    bompington wrote:
    bompington wrote:
    But surely the logical conclusion of this argument is that we'd all be better off just lying on our beds injecting heroin?

    If it didn't have so many side effects, then yes, of course... problem is it does... but the side effects of PED can be managed if one is smart... look at Cipollini, he seems alright to me... not much wrong with Virenque or Millar either... even Armstrong looks pretty fit and healthy to me...
    So the physical side effects are the only consequences we need to worry about?


    So long as your conscience is strong enough not to be troubled by your past and you don't mind people knowing that you're a cheating bugger, then I suppose so.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    bompington wrote:
    bompington wrote:
    But surely the logical conclusion of this argument is that we'd all be better off just lying on our beds injecting heroin?

    If it didn't have so many side effects, then yes, of course... problem is it does... but the side effects of PED can be managed if one is smart... look at Cipollini, he seems alright to me... not much wrong with Virenque or Millar either... even Armstrong looks pretty fit and healthy to me...
    So the physical side effects are the only consequences we need to worry about?


    So long as your conscience is strong enough not to be troubled by your past and you don't mind people knowing that you're a cheating bugger, then I suppose so.
    That was my point. Ugo seems to have a remarkably amoral approach to cheating.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    That was my point. Ugo seems to have a remarkably amoral approach to cheating.

    I don't race, so I probably don't get the ethics and the etiquette, but if I was interested in winning and I couldn't do it out of my own, I'd probably easily be persuaded that the others are cheating and that I must either give up or take something myself. Luckily I am not interested... :mrgreen::mrgreen:
    CHeating brings rewards, as I pointed out earlier... I don't think Merckx spends his days praying the Lord for forgiveness and given another chance, I am sure Armstrong would do the same all over again, because he had some bloody good years and no matter how hard they will go on him, he will always be better off financially and with more followers, having achieved more, with memories to last a couple of lifetimes than had he not doped (and he wouldn't have shagged Cheryl Crow)
    left the forum March 2023
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    OK, so it's cool to cheat cos you get laid. Definitely top-level ethics there.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    OK, so it's cool to cheat cos you get laid. Definitely top-level ethics there.

    We are not here to discuss whether doping is legit or not but why people do it... the problem is you never get to see the victims of your crime... name a victim, someone who has been seriously damaged by someone else's doping, I can't think of anyone.
    It's fairly easy to cheat if you don't see any victim... and please don't tell me that a mamil deprived of a car 3 win is a crime
    left the forum March 2023
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    name a victim, someone who has been seriously damaged by someone else's doping, I can't think of anyone.
    :roll: The person who was cheated out of winning, of course.

    When you participate in a sport, you agree to be bound by its rules, however arbitrary they may be. To break those rules is to lie and commit fraud.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    name a victim, someone who has been seriously damaged by someone else's doping, I can't think of anyone.
    :roll: The person who was cheated out of winning, of course.

    When you participate in a sport, you agree to be bound by its rules, however arbitrary they may be. To break those rules is to lie and commit fraud.

    I think you deliberately fail to acknowledge the point of this thread... why do people do it?

    Every time you break the law there might be consequences... even when you cross the road before the man turns green... the ripple effect could be huge... the point is that you fail to see it, in the same way as someone who decides to take drugs fails to see how that can damage someone else. He probably believes everybody is at it and the rule is only there to prevent people going too far.

    If you ask any cycling fan in Italy, France, Spain they will tell you that you need rules against doping, otherwise people will go too far, but they are in principle quite linient, the argument being that it is a tough sport

    You might disagree, but you can't fail to see that people might have a different logic or come from a different angle.

    Not seeing it is as blind as the Tories waving low unemployment as an achievement and refusing to acknowledge that a job that doesn't lift you out of poverty is of little or no value
    left the forum March 2023
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    You might disagree, but you can't fail to see that people might have a different logic or come from a different angle.
    Of course I can see that other people have a different viewpoint. Their viewpoint is "cheating is OK". Their viewpoint is wrong.
    There's a whole new can of worms here, but I would suggest that one reason might be cultures where loyalty trumps the rule of law.

    Just look at the commissaires' rulings at any Spanish race for example... :wink:
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    Of course I can see that other people have a different viewpoint. Their viewpoint is "cheating is OK". Their viewpoint is wrong.
    :

    Doesn't matter if it's right or wrong... it's not a culture you are going to change by telling them they are wrong and they are cheats.
    You need to create an environment where taking part trumps winning: where there is competition of any sort (even just perceived), there is cheating and if it's sport, then there is doping... there is no exception to this, at any level or in any sport.

    The sensible thing to do for any authority is highlight the health damages if any, if there isn't any documented, then there is no point in banning the drug in question
    left the forum March 2023
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    You need to create an environment where taking part trumps winning: where there is competition of any sort (even just perceived), there is cheating and if it's sport, then there is doping... there is no exception to this, at any level or in any sport.

    The sensible thing to do for any authority is highlight the health damages if any, if there isn't any documented, then there is no point in banning the drug in question
    So there's doping in all sports at all levels? :shock: I'd love to know which members of my school cricket 3rd XI were doping.

    I agree with you that changing the environment is more important than anything else. But there's one thing you missed, or perhaps it's better to say two: you need to make the penalties of getting caught worse than the rewards of succeeding, and you need to make the chance of getting caught high enough for people to believe that it is likely to happen.

    As for health being the only reason to ban drugs - this is an absurd discounting of a whole host of other reasons why people shouldn't take PEDs, but then that's obviously where you're coming from.
    If health is the only criterion then you'd be banning heading in football and tackling in rugby - well, you'd be banning rugby. And a whole lot of other sports that are not that good for health at elite level.
    And you'd be heading down the slippery slope of The Doping Olympics, where athletes compete to find the most powerful PEDs with the sole constraint being health - something that would be very hard to pin down.

    Madness.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,300
    bompington wrote:
    I agree with you that changing the environment is more important than anything else. But there's one thing you missed, or perhaps it's better to say two: you need to make the penalties of getting caught worse than the rewards of succeeding, and you need to make the chance of getting caught high enough for people to believe that it is likely to happen.

    Not a believer of deterrants... countries with death penalty have typically higher rates of violent crime too, so there is no reason to think life bans or worse, jail sentences would deter athletes from doping... might make things worse... if you get a life ban for cheating, you might as well make it worthwile and go for the full blood transfusions monty, rather than taking a silly pill.
    Google three strikes law for an example of deterrant that backfired...
    bompington wrote:
    As for health being the only reason to ban drugs - this is an absurd discounting of a whole host of other reasons why people shouldn't take PEDs, but then that's obviously where you're coming from.

    There are hundreds of molecules which are perfectly legal and yet have PE effects, caffeine, vitamins, aminoacids and whatnot. If EPO had zero side effects and came in goji berries, I would eat them... who wouldn't want to have a more efficient oxygen transport system? As a matter of fact, I take fish oil supplements, which among other things are antinflammatory and as such have a PE effect.

    If a drug had zero side effects, it would be hard for any authority to ban it... on which grounds? Because it makes you go faster? So do tyres with lower rolling coefficient or a helmet with no vents or a more tucked position on the bike, or having less body fat... nobody has dreamed of banning low body fat...
    left the forum March 2023
  • phil2161
    phil2161 Posts: 3
    bompington wrote:
    name a victim, someone who has been seriously damaged by someone else's doping, I can't think of anyone.
    :roll: The person who was cheated out of winning, of course.

    When you participate in a sport, you agree to be bound by its rules, however arbitrary they may be. To break those rules is to lie and commit fraud.
    People do not care because the chances of being busted for a PED in an amateur race are so very low because very few races are tested and depending upon what a racer is using they will know when to stop. In addition the sad reality is that PED's are so easy to obtain and dirt cheap that more guys than people realize are doing it in the amateur ranks.

    very upsetting
  • Alex_Simmons/RST
    Alex_Simmons/RST Posts: 4,161
    edited March 2017
    bompington wrote:
    OK, so it's cool to cheat cos you get laid. Definitely top-level ethics there.

    We are not here to discuss whether doping is legit or not but why people do it... the problem is you never get to see the victims of your crime... name a victim, someone who has been seriously damaged by someone else's doping, I can't think of anyone.
    It's fairly easy to cheat if you don't see any victim... and please don't tell me that a mamil deprived of a car 3 win is a crime
    Just because you can't think of anyone doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

    I know several people who missed out on qualification for events which meant lost opportunities to compete at a higher level and learn and develop, those who missed out on team selection to dopers, those who lost their title and credibility because team mate went positive. Yes, amateurs one and all.

    I've also coached riders who were flogged mercilessly when they should have been rested simply to fill in for a known doper who screwed up their doping protocols such that they would go positive at a race (women who are really still amateurs). It has been so bad that many such riders have been left physically damaged from actual overtraining and have left the sport.

    As a coach I am terrified that I might one day be coaching someone stupid enough to dope - the collateral damage to my reputation would be a most serious thing and would result in various damages to me, my business and business partners, including financial.
  • bompington wrote:
    I agree with you that changing the environment is more important than anything else. But there's one thing you missed, or perhaps it's better to say two: you need to make the penalties of getting caught worse than the rewards of succeeding, and you need to make the chance of getting caught high enough for people to believe that it is likely to happen.

    Not a believer of deterrants... countries with death penalty have typically higher rates of violent crime too, so there is no reason to think life bans or worse, jail sentences would deter athletes from doping... might make things worse... if you get a life ban for cheating, you might as well make it worthwile and go for the full blood transfusions monty, rather than taking a silly pill.
    Google three strikes law for an example of deterrant that backfired...
    bompington wrote:
    As for health being the only reason to ban drugs - this is an absurd discounting of a whole host of other reasons why people shouldn't take PEDs, but then that's obviously where you're coming from.

    There are hundreds of molecules which are perfectly legal and yet have PE effects, caffeine, vitamins, aminoacids and whatnot. If EPO had zero side effects and came in goji berries, I would eat them... who wouldn't want to have a more efficient oxygen transport system? As a matter of fact, I take fish oil supplements, which among other things are antinflammatory and as such have a PE effect.

    If a drug had zero side effects, it would be hard for any authority to ban it... on which grounds? Because it makes you go faster? So do tyres with lower rolling coefficient or a helmet with no vents or a more tucked position on the bike, or having less body fat... nobody has dreamed of banning low body fat...
    You are questioning how the line in the doping sand is drawn. We need not concern ourselves with that since WADA do it for us.

    The rationale for what is or is not included as a prohibited substance or method is well documented, I suggest reading it. In general a substance or method is prohibited when it fails 2 of 3 criteria covering performance enhancement or potential performance enhancement; health risk or potential health risk; and/or breaking of sporting values. There is another separate criteria covering substances or methods that mask doping. Please read the WADA code before commenting further.

    Hence why some substances are proven to be ergogenic but are not prohibited since they do not fail the health risk nor sporting value tests, although there are not many supplements in that category.

    As for such generalisations, I have a Venn diagram to put various substances and methods into context and to help remind people of the differences between what's ethical, what's doping, and or what's legal. These are different issues with of course some overlap.

    What's ethical of course is context specific, e.g. something (legal and permitted) you might suggest an adult use may well be unethical to provide to a junior.

    8c2849ce-2bd8-4955-80bc-d56f6260561e_zpsc2bb9e13.jpg
  • As to why people do it? Human nature I suppose. Narcissism. People lie and cheat all the time, and amateur and participation cycling events would be no different. I suspect that doping in the sportive/fondo circuit is probably worse than in local category racing.