I hope not… I was/am a certified trainer, a coach, and an athlete in four sports. I have helped, via sports psychology methodologies and training schedules, many sports figures improve their chances for, and secure, many a medal or professional championship. In every sport, from Archery to Body Building, I have met players and their hangers-on, who would do anything to win. For some of them, and their coaches, winning is more addictive than the drug that takes them to success.
I once did visualization techniques with a power lifter and doctor of pharmacology. He had injected himself with so many performance enhancing drugs that he had to have surgery to remove breasts that had formed from an excess of estrogen. And he lost most of his sexual drive because to obtain an erection he had to inject himself at the base of his penis each and every time he felt “in the mood.” I once watched a national class Tae Kwon Do athlete convulse from a near lethal combination of mood and performance enhancing drugs. A few months later I looked on as his student, a beautiful and talented fighter, at a national championship, lost in the finals because a congenital heart murmur became problematic after she took stimulants given to her by the same addicted player/coach. It is one thing to be a Tiger Woods and give yourself over to perfection and another to destroy yourself for the sake of an imagined immortality.
I once had the great privilege to speak alongside John Naber at a health care conference in the US. Don’t remember him? He was a giant of a man, in spirit, physique (6’6″?) and ability, who won 4 gold medals and one silver medal in swimming at Montreal and ALL in world record time. He was also the Sullivan Athlete of the year in 1977. Does any “regular Joe” remember him? And yes, I think he was a real deal, no chemical add-ons, amateur star. If the general population cannot remember a national treasure like Naber than what is the chance we will laud anyone with less than steroidal accomplishments? Bigger, Faster Stronger these days seems to apply more to dosage than to true achievement. Most of the athletes I have met in Macau, especially those in Tae Kwon Do, are dedicated to their sport and not the destruction of their futures. They are in Duha this week probably getting their asses handed to them by countries more bent on political capital and publicity than the safety and well being of their kids. If they win any medal I will be doubly proud: They are champions in body and the true spirit of competition.
The one exception came this week when the Ping pong Team was DQ’d for use of a banned adhesive. I did not know you could cheat at Ping Pong, but I should not have been so naive. I have quit watching most sports. The pharmacological freaks don’t impress me anymore. And I am stunned that things have become so bad that even Chess has started dope testing. This week I am only watching those athletes I know at the games and then only those I am sure are self-sustained.
Lonnie B Hodge at OMBWÂ