Nope to Dope

18 Nov

I got my new issue of Runners World this weekend, and the big article was about marathon champion Eddy Hellebuyck’s admission to doping. It seems like every month a new athlete admits to doping to enhance their performance. I am so disgusted by this. I miss the days when we could look up to and admire athletes. Now I feel like there isn’t anyone.

I get to excited to watch the Olympics and the big superstars, but all the while wonder when the reports are going to come out about their drug use. What’s really awful is, what if they don’t dope? And here me and a million other people automatically assume they couldn’t perform the way they do unless they took drugs. I feel guilty for that.

I read Olympic swimmer Dara Torres‘s book this summer “Age Is Just a Number.” It was about her comeback to the Beijing Olympics as a 41 year old athlete. The book detailed her rigorous workout schedule and stressed over and over again that she didn’t use drugs. I want so desperately to believe her. I want to look up to her and think wow she did an amazing thing especially given her age. But a part of me doubts. A big part of me doubts honestly. I was excited watching Michael Phelps, but wonder when we’re going to hear about him.

Now that I’m interested in running, I’m starting to learn some of the big names in the sport. I want to believe these athletes work so insanely hard to accomplish what seems impossible, like winning marathons. But then things like Marion Jones comes out and I wonder. Or I read this article in Runners World and the doubts arise again.

I know the temptation must be great. The money and endorsement possibilities are insane. I have to keep to a strict budget every month, and the thought of being independently wealthy if I just won a few races, well it would be tempting. But then I think of how incredibly hard I’ve had to work just to get to where I am. And that would all be lost the second I took drugs. I know I couldn’t compromise my integrity like that.

Why do they?

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2 Responses to “Nope to Dope”

  1. laurapayette November 18, 2010 at 8:11 AM #

    It’s crazy, isn’t it? I guess I’d have to walk in their shoes to understand the pressure they’re under. I heard the following story on NPR a couple of months ago. It’s a different spin on the doping story, told from the perspective of an athlete who chose not to dope.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129533093

  2. Noel D. November 18, 2010 at 5:45 PM #

    What an interesting article. Thanks so much for sharing it. I work for a fitness organization, and one of my friends’ husband worked for USADA. I’ve become very jaded from being exposed to it. Sad.

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