UKC

"Cheating" in sport

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 Bilberry 18 Feb 2021

Just pondering idly following a comment on the robot arm thread.

Strapping mattress-sized pads to your legs as an ice hockey goalie is (I assume) prohibited by the rules.  Similarly so with tennis bats and cricket paddles.

And we have a set of rules on drugs that attempts to be comprehensive.

But when does a prosthesis become an unfair advantage (like a robot arm, or even running blades) rather than a disadvantage?  Is it when a power source is added?  What about a bowler where it just provides more rotational freedom?  And what about surgery? What if I'm a swimmer and I get my toes and fingers surgically webbed? 

 jkarran 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

> And what about surgery? What if I'm a swimmer and I get my toes and fingers surgically webbed? 

In practical terms for the subtler and more esoteric 'cheats' it's when they start working, when you start winning and attracting attention.

jk

 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

I think the unhelpful but accurate definition is when you start winning the competition and someone complains to the sports governing body. I would assume a good candidate for being banned would be if it offers a biomechanical advantage over the normal body part.

I expect if you look at the history of those pads and rackets there is a good chance of someone being caught taking the piss and then a rule being added to block them doing so again.

Having just looked up cricket bats "In 1771, an incident on the field of play led to the creation of a new Law which remains extant. In a match between Chertsey and Hambledon at Laleham Burway, the Chertsey all-rounder Thomas White used a bat that was the width of the wicket".

 Bilberry 18 Feb 2021
In reply to mondite:

I agree... but arguably running blades enable higher natural cadence because you have less mass to accelerate, as well as any springiness advantages.

And what of my flipper hands?

 mondite 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

> I agree... but arguably running blades enable higher natural cadence because you have less mass to accelerate, as well as any springiness advantages.

It looks to be a somewhat controversial area. If you look at Pistorius there was lots of back and forth with the IAAF about whether or not he should be allowed to take part or not.  Apparently he had an advantage whilst running flat out but a disadvantage at the start which balanced out so for anyone else I guess it would be a case of looking at the specific blades being used and also the race distance to see whether they give an unfair advantage or not.

> And what of my flipper hands?

Try it and see.

Although that people from Norfolk dont dominate swimming makes me dubious about its usefulness.

 Brown 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

I have always thought Lance Armstrong was a interesting example.

Taking a shit tonne of drugs to beat cancer is ok despite him clearly not being able to perform well without having taken them as he would be dead is ok.

Taking a second shit tonne is cheating.

Either way, there would have been other people on the podium had he not been on the drugs.

Prizes should go to people who don't need drugs full stop.

 nufkin 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

>  Taking a shit tonne of drugs to beat cancer is ok despite him clearly not being able to perform well without having taken them as he would be dead is ok.

I'm not an oncologist, but I think they only improved his performance at not being dead specifically, rather than riding bikes fast. Presumably there are reasons the peloton isn't awash with riders taking chemo drugs.

>  Prizes should go to people who don't need drugs full stop.

Yes, but it all comes down to what is defined as a 'drug'. There's clearly a spectrum of effectiveness, and debate about acceptable quantities. Ultimately it seems that the important thing is transparency, rather than a unilateral position that drugs are bad, m'kay

 Brown 18 Feb 2021
In reply to nufkin:

His chemotherapy drugs definitely improved his performance. As such they must be performance enhancing drugs.

The improvement between dead and winning the tour is enormous.

He displaced another clean athlete who had not resorted to pumping their body with a cocktail of serious pharmaceuticals.

> Yes, but it all comes down to what is defined as a 'drug'. There's clearly a spectrum of effectiveness, and debate about acceptable quantities. Ultimately it seems that the important thing is transparency, rather than a unilateral position that drugs are bad, m'kay

Eating is cheating.

In reply to Bilberry:

Check out Chive Talkin's thread on his crusher....

 tingle 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

The other people on the podium would have probably also been taking drugs.

 henwardian 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

> And we have a set of rules on drugs that attempts to be comprehensive.

Hmm.... https://xkcd.com/1173/

Maybe you are not looking at it in a cynical enough light :D

> But when does a prosthesis become an unfair advantage (like a robot arm, or even running blades) rather than a disadvantage? 

Short answer: When the person who makes the rules decides it does.

Long answer: The same, only with much more agonising and discussion and media input and scientific studies.

 mark s 19 Feb 2021
In reply to henwardian:

Your link is very true though 

Imagine the amazing performances we could see if performance drugs were properly funded and researched 

After all the athlete has to put the work in. Giving my postman epo won't create a tdf winner or giving the lad at the gym tren won't make him the world's strongest man.

We watch sports to see superhumans, so they should take a few drugs. I want to see a 7 second 100 metres 

 DaveHK 19 Feb 2021
In reply to tingle:

> The other people on the podium would have probably also been taking drugs.

In most years of LA's tour career you've got to go pretty far down the GC results to find someone with no suspicion attached.

 Ian W 19 Feb 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> In most years of LA's tour career you've got to go pretty far down the GC results to find someone with no suspicion attached.


Didn't they just cancel the results completely for some years - they couldn't find anyone in the top 10 who hadn't been found guilty of doping, so gave up......

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mark s:

> Imagine the amazing performances we could see if performance drugs were properly funded and researched 

Being cynical I am not sure that isnt already the case. Its just some of that money is spent on hiding from the drug agencies (or subverting them).

In reply to henwardian:

> Short answer: When the person who makes the rules decides it does.

Well yes, but we don't have to argue about whether the cancer chemo was performance enhancing (it wasn't) because the cortisol, HGH and EPO most definitely were.  That's why he's a cheat, not because he didn't die.

 cb294 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

The cancer chemo is not the main issue when discussing the "legal" part of LAs doping strategy.

The issue is rather steroid doping via supplements medically required following the chemo/operation.

Steroid doping is a tricky subject, because testosteron is a natural hormone in our bodies. It is clearly performance enhancing, but also its natural concentrations do show some variation, both between individuals and within one individual over time.

Thus, the thresholds above which hormone levels are considered to be unambiguously caused by doping do have rather wide safety margins (which I consider unrealistically wide).

Now, any doper still in possession of their balls need to take their natural fluctuations into account, and stay well clear of these thresholds unless they want to risk getting caught out by a natural fluctuation. Most of the time the hormone concentration therefore will be way below the doping threshold.

If you have your balls fried or removed for cancer treatment and need artificial supplementation, you can dope up to the legal threshold, and even have a good excuse to regularly check how close you are to that threshold! No need to worry about getting caught out by a natural spike, just set the concentration just below the banned level constantly. No need to faff around with microdosing!

IMO, the easiest solution would be to set doping threshold for people requiring testosterone replacement much closer to the normal physiological range, without the wide error margin.

CB

In reply to cb294:

> Steroid doping is a tricky subject,

Maybe, but the fact remains that Armstrong got away with blatant doping with substances that had no possible medical justification because he was protected by corruption in his sport's governing body.  The testosterone is a distraction.

It's perfectly possible to make clear rules about performance-enhancing substances.  The rules might not always be totally logical scientifically, but that's the price you pay for consistency.   

To choose a hypothetical and completely random example; triamcinolone within given dosage ranges, by inhaler, for asthma - acceptable.  Triamcinolone in massive doses by intramuscular injection, not so much, whether you are asthmatic or not.

For a long time the big problem was EPO, because there was no way of distinguishing between endogenous EPO and recombinant EPO.  Now there is, at least for the standard old-school Amgen-type recombinant erythropoietin (although I'm sure it's possible to make properly glycosylated versions that would be much harder to spot) but if there's corruption in the system and tests are lost or faked, that's irrelevant.

 Iamgregp 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Indeed - there was whole smorgasbord board of drugs that he was taking that would have no part in recovery from cancer, and he was also blood doping too. Any drugs which LA was taking as part of his cancer treatment would have been agreed with the anti doping authorities and taken under a TUE.  In any case he reckons he started doping in '95 which predates his cancer diagnosis.  

I mention the TUE as to layman like me, this seems to be the new front in doping in cycling?  Obviously professional athletes need to be able to be treated for health conditions that they may have and they need to be exempt from being banned whilst they're being treated but it looks very much like teams have used the TUE system to effectively dope the athletes but stay within the rules.

Take Bradley Wiggins - he was given Triamcinolone before the '11 and '12 TDF (which he won), apparently for pollen allergies.  He'd never been given this drug to treat pollen allergies before in his life, and he'd never spoken about allergies before, nor mentioned it in his autobiography.  Now I'm not saying he's not allergic to pollen and that this wasn't a perfectly reasonable treatment, but I saw an interview with a ex pro cyclist who was banned for doping and he used to also take Triamcinolone, and said that date Wiggins took it (something like 2 weeks before the start of the tour) and that that was exactly when he used to take it too, as that gave the most benefit.

Wiggins has kept his medals, but the DCMS say they crossed a moral line.  He keeps his medals, but everyone knows they worked the system to their advantage.

 Iamgregp 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Typed my reply before yours was up - I think we say a lot of the same things!

 Brown 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Obviously professional athletes need to be able to be treated for health conditions that they may have and they need to be exempt from being banned whilst they're being treated but it looks very much like teams have used the TUE system to effectively dope the athletes but stay within the rules.

I don't think this is as obvious as you. Clearly health is just another aspect of performance.

We don't think it's acceptable for people to take tonnes of steroids due to their bodies being prone to weakness or unable to put on muscle.

Why should people get to take lots of drugs as they are prone to illness or allergies. It's taking places away from people with good immune systems who can complete naturally.

 mark s 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

> We don't think it's acceptable for people to take tonnes of steroids due to their bodies being prone to weakness or unable to put on muscle.

Who's we?  

A lot of men take trt, that's steroids. 

A few ml of steroids a week never hurt anyone. In fact you hear people talk of the health benefit of added test. 

 Iamgregp 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

I suppose you could extend your thinking to glasses?  "Glasses wearers are taking places away from people with good eyes who can compete naturally."

Post edited at 17:13
 nufkin 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

>  I suppose you could extend your thinking to glasses?

Or clothes

 Iamgregp 19 Feb 2021
In reply to nufkin:

Surgery or physio after an injury?  That's out too.

In reply to Bilberry:

> And what of my flipper hands?

NFN

 Bilberry 19 Feb 2021
In reply to nufkin:

> Or clothes


Sharkskin suits in swimming were banned?  I don't recall.  Was it area limited or something?

Am I allowed to swim nude and smeared in PTFE with my surgically-generated flipped hands?

 Bilberry 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Dr.S at work:

> NFN


Bit tough on things with flippers.

What *is* Norfolk famous for?

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

> Am I allowed to swim nude and smeared in PTFE with my surgically-generated flipped hands?

I think this falls under rule 34.

In reply to Bilberry:

> Bit tough on things with flippers.

> What *is* Norfolk famous for?

Inbreeding depression - they make Lincolnshire folk look outbred. To be fair though, lower rate of cretinism than Derbyshire.

 Brown 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Iamgregp:

Sounds reasonable in some sports. Are you allowed to compete with head mounted optics in shooting?

Pistorius was in all sorts of issues as his mega legs were considered to be an advantage over normal legs.

 Roadrunner6 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

>

> Why should people get to take lots of drugs as they are prone to illness or allergies. It's taking places away from people with good immune systems who can complete naturally.

That's impossible to police though and also against any discrimination rules.

It makes it tough to police though as abuse of TUE's is rife.

 Roadrunner6 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Brown:

> Sounds reasonable in some sports. Are you allowed to compete with head mounted optics in shooting?

> Pistorius was in all sorts of issues as his mega legs were considered to be an advantage over normal legs.

I think Pistorius's issue was also being off his head on roid rage and getting shooty..

 Pedro50 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I think Pistorius's issue was also being off his head on roid rage and getting shooty..

Have 10 likes.

mattmurphy 19 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

I’m always curious as to what sport would look like with drugs.

If I was a clean professional sportsman the first thing I’d do when I retired would be to do another year in my chosen sport fully doped to see what I could do.

I’d love to see Chris Froome fully maxed out on EPO climb the alp d’huez. From a purely academic perspective it would be interesting to see how he compares to Pantani and Armstrong. I think he’d be far faster than both, but it would be interesting to know.

 mondite 19 Feb 2021
In reply to mattmurphy:

> I’m always curious as to what sport would look like with drugs.

Watch the TDF in Lances glory years for an idea.

> If I was a clean professional sportsman the first thing I’d do when I retired would be to do another year in my chosen sport fully doped to see what I could do.

Its old now but this is an interesting report by a journalist who was a keen amateur athlete.

https://www.outsideonline.com/1924306/drug-test

 Andy Gamisou 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Bilberry:

I've often wondered to what extent performance enhancing drugs are used in climbing.  Not amongst those competing on the IFSC circuit, but amongst those wads sticking up hard routes (I'm thinking the two set might intersect, but aren't the same by any means).  I can think of a few well known climbers who would probably not have been adverse to such things.

 mark s 20 Feb 2021
In reply to mattmurphy:

Watch the ascent of hautacam when byarne rjese (spelling) tore the peleton apart. Amazing to watch. 

 mark s 20 Feb 2021
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

I'd be tempted to take just a small dose to aid recovery allowing more climbing and training and take the mild effects of strength gain. Low doses wouldn't give any negative side effects. It's not like you would be taking weight lifter size doses 

 Roadrunner6 20 Feb 2021
In reply to mattmurphy:

Of that that dope Lots of athletes do chose to  dope at the end of their career. They have little to lose.

There was a triathlete in the US caught for hormone use to fight ageing, she thought it was legitimate to keep her in the condition she was when she was younger.. I've known a few dopers and most really do justify it in their heads.

A friend said she used EPO to treat a dodgy hamstring. She was later indicted for welfare fraud, and now campaigns against trans athletes.. she's outraged at the idea of women being cheated out of success.. 

I took her off facebook in the end. Crazy Trump supporting QAnon lady..

Post edited at 13:07

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