Tag Archives: doping

Real Life Drama – Stranger Than Fiction?

Is it just me or are stories of real events becoming more out-of-this-world than fiction iteslf?

First, there was the brilliant neuroscience doctoral student, James Holmes who turned murderer. Well OK, scientists and professionals do become terrorists, so after 9/11 you could argue such sagas are no longer “black swan” in nature.

Fresh off the press, we have the truly inspirational cancer survivor and biking superstar, Lance Armstrong whose story we are having to unwind, like a bad dream. In fact one bookstore has labelled a Lance Amstrong memoir as “fiction”, puchasable for a paltry one pound.

I have recently been tempted to ask the question, do real life experiences provide fodder for fiction or is it the other way round now – i.e. is fiction inspiring real life malice?

To get back to reality, we do make many assumptions in real life. Surely, it must have seemed plausible to some all along that Lance Armstrong could just be way ahead of the regulators in doping, and athletes being ahead of doping agencies in the doping game is not a new phenomenon. Similarly, what’s to proof that a scientist’s (or anyone else’s) moral compass is sound? The real life stories, it would seem, are built on somewhat wobbly foundations to start with.

Round and Round We Go…

The news over the last couple of days seems to have been dominated by Lance Armstrong being charged with doping and losing his titles, as happened famously with Ben Johnson some time back. “Athletes will try almost anything to beat doping tests“: – this article describes how athletes are ahead of the game and anti-doping agencies play a never-ending catch-up game. (The biological passport, which profiles athletes over time is said to be a big step forward, but nevertheless, one wonders if that too can be outsmarted over time.)

There is a parallel here with the various banking crises and corporate scandals we have witnessed in recent years. These players were ahead of the regulators. So, there we go – a scandal or crisis happens, the next thing we know, the industries get burdened with more regulations (even for the many who commited no wrong and would be quite well in control without these regulations); down the road then, yet more creative ways are found by some to outwit the systems and round and round we go…

There is the good, bad and ugly in sports as there is in business. The bad and ugly must not be allowed to over-burden the systems and let’s hope the good prevails over time.