Seeking the Straight Dope

Doping authorities take urine and blood samples and keep them on file for 8 years. How are these samples secured for that period of time? Does chemical degradation or sample decay takes place over 8 years? What will happen to these samples when the 8-year period comes to an end? Are they destroyed? If so, how? Who is responsible for the process of destruction? What makes this actor qualified for such a task?

(We won't know the winners from the Beijing Olympics until 2016. Until then we are faced with the "limitless postponement" characteristic of Deleuze's control society.)

Is it possible that before the first 8-year period is over the period is extended in fashion analogous to what we have seen with the Copyright Term Extension Act in the United States? Will WADA someday own a right to these samples in perpetuity? Forensic examination is currently solving crimes that took place 30 years ago; will we see a gold medal from today overturned 30 years in the future due to a forensically-detected doping violation? And will the truth of that discovery be greater than the truth of the race victory today?


30 responses to Seeking the Straight Dope

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  1. Mark Yacoub says:

    To me, WADA is a joke. You will never ever elimanate cheating in sports. Everytime a new method is used to detect steroids, a new steroid will come out which will be able to be used undetected. That being said, I am still against steroids in sport. I believe steroids are wrong as they have numerous health problems as well as the fact that they are unethical. Unfortunately, I am unabale to provide a solution to cheating in sport which will do much good, except for maybe just increase the punishments if found guilty.

    While I do respect the fact that WADA is attempting to put an end to steroids and cheating in sport, I believe this is the wrong approach to it. In my opinion, the Olympic event most commonly associated with steroids is the 100m. I believe that almost everybody who makes it to that final in the 100m is on some type of substance. Now the challenge is no longer winning the race, it's finding the best substance that won't get you caught. That being said, I always take the times in that final 100 with a grain of salt. I don't really read much into it as I'm sure the winner is on something, as mentioned earlier. However, if all of the athletes are on some kind of substance, that does create a fair ground, making the winner credible (this is of course, assuming that my theory of cheating amongst the finalists holds up).

    Now I am sure WADA is aware of this, as this must be why they implemented this rule. While I do agree that action must be taken, I feel this course of action is completely wrong. To me, it's the same thing as the athlete's running a semi-final and then just never running the final. You may never really know who the real winner is. This completely takes the excitement away from the sport. How can we say somebody is really the best if there's always this cloud hanging over them that they may not be? To me it's a rediculous concept which just makes a complete mockery of the Olympic games. I do not want to have to wait 8 years to find out if the winner was actually the true winner. And even worse, imagine how you must feel as an athlete who won. Your victory would be completely soured as you know that any day, that medal could coule be taken away from you.

    As mentioned earlier, while I am in support of WADA's contribution to the banishment of cheating in sport, I think this is one approach that completely jeapordizes the respect and the integrity around the Olympics. Rather then watch the 2008 olympics live as they're happening, I'll be watching the highlights in 2016 when I actually learn who the real "winners" are. But until then why even watch the actual olympics as every thing you see may end up being false?

  2. Erin Gillespie says:

    WADA although has good inentions sometimes leaves me wondering why?
    Why is it that an athlete who may have cheated today can be punished for this cheating 8 years later. For me, if the technology that WADA possess right now is not able to detect cheating than the individual should be free from worry that their medals will be taken away at a later date. I do not agree with cheating nor would I condone it but it seems from what has been presented in our class and from what I have seen in the media, that many if not all elite levels athletes are doing it. I think it may be safe to say that in order to win at an even such as the Olympics, one must do something (whether it be using steroids, or freezing their own blood) to gain an edge over their competitors who are undoubtedly engaging in the same process.
    I think that sport has come very far in recent years in promoting "fair play" however I thinkt hat Ben Johnson was right in the fact that he was not the first nor would he be the last to enegage in practices that are deemed to be unfair.
    I think that if WADA canot prove today that an athlete "cheated" today then let it be. I think that 8 years from the 2008 Olympics, WADA will have bigger "fish to fry" than those that were past winners.

  3. Ryan Langille says:

    First of all, I will agree with previous posts by saying that i competely disagree with steroid use and 'cheating' in sport. The Olympics in my opinion have been completely ruined as they are no longer a display of human skill, performance and dedication to a sport. The Olympics are most likely seen as the most prominent venue for steroid use (even though i'm sure steroid use occurs in every single professional sport by at least some athletes) it's just the Olympics are such a large and world-wide spectacle with a history of performance enhancing substance problems that everyone relates steroids to the Olympics.

    In the past Olympic athletes were those who trained harder, devoted more time, and had more natural talent in their specialty sport, now it seems to me that as long as you are able to use some sort of undetectable performance enhancing substance and have some athletetic ability, any ordinary joe can potentially be an olympic athelte. Now that may seem somewhat far fetched, but the olympics and some sports today are more about better scientific abilities to create new undetectable substances than better athletic talent. The goal of setting new world records that are potentially already tarnished and probably set by individuals who squeezed by the testing are the cause of all these steroid problems.

    I will say that at least there are committies that are devoted to preventing cheating and 'doping' in the olympics like WADA, but it is definetely an uphill battle, I don't know the solution but testing is going to have to be occuring very frequently for the year leading upto the olympics, during, after with more severe consequences in hopes to frighten athletes a little bit from using these substances, because this "8 year window of testing" is simply ridiculous, it takes all the meaning out of winning, and for me persoanlly i'd rather allow everyone to use steroids of their choice and determine winners immediately after the event than have to wait 8 years or more to find out .

  4. Carrie Grylls says:

    I think we really need to look at this "rule" and ask ourselves what it is really telling us about our athletes and sport. It is telling us that cheating and doping are a major issue in sports today. Clearly WADA cannot keep up with it, and that is why they have created this 8 year window. I think it's ridiculous and it is taking the meaning of sport away. How can there be any excitement anymore when we don't "really" know who won? Will we even really care if something comes up 8 years later that the athlete cheated? And how can we know that these samples are safe and cannot be tampered with in this 8 year time span. If we already know the extremes that athletes are going through to win, then whose to say someone is not going to try and frame an athlete for cheating or doping, knowing they have 8 years to do it.
    Also what is this telling us about society? Have we created a society that is so geared towards winning and being the absolute best that people are treating their bodies like machines and willing to abuse them to win at all costs? I think so. It's shameful really to think that what athletes are doing to their bodies now will effect them not only in the meantime but years down the road as well. In the case of Ben Johnson, he took steroids that were exremely dangerous for his liver and could lead to other serious health problems.
    I think society maybe needs to change the way that athletes are valued, and start being more task-oriented instead of ego-oriented. Everyone is so focused on the winner and winning at all costs. But winning at all costs can turn dangerously. We need to let our athletes know that we will support them whether they win or not, to try and decrease the issue of cheating and doping in sport to prevent this 8 year window. We also need to try to get athletes to value their bodies in it's natural form to stop this self-abuse.

  5. Scott Symonds says:

    In order to understand doping, we must first understand the reasons to why athletes dope in the first place. Many people invariably focus on the individual when looking at doping scandals. Although it is the individual who is taking performance-enhacing substances, the reason behind taking them is a social practice. I do not completely disagree with steroid use in sport even though I believe it is wrong to some extent. The human body is very intricate and has to the potential to do amazing things without steroids; however, i enjoy watching the maximum extent to which athletes can push their bodies to perform unbelievable feats. It would be very interesting to watch a 100 m final with all the competitors being on some form of performance-enhancing substance. Would they all tie? probably not; there would still be a winner who comes out on top. The problem lies when only a select few athletes take substances while others do not

    I believe that the 8-year window proposed by WADA is ridiculous. I think that governing sport bodies have gone to far in their quest to 'catch' athletes using steroids. A year or two would be a more respectable time frame for this sort of analysis. If I was an Olympic athlete and I knew that it would take 8 years for me to receive my medal I wouldnt even bother competing. Doing this would completely take away from the entertainment value of watching the Olympics. Corporate sponsors contribute to sports because they know the entertainment value of sport will pay them back. I would not watch any Olympic competitions if I knew that the winner wasn't officially the winner until 8 years following the event. If others follow my decision, ratings would be down, there would be less exposure to corporate sponsors advertising and the relationship between the two would be dissolved.

    I agree with the first post by Mark in that cheating in sports will never be completely eliminated. Every time that WADA comes up with a strategy to detect substance use, science and society will come up with a way to disguse it. Like i said earlier, I would love to see a 100 m final with all the players on performance-enhancing substances and compare the results to one in which none of the athletes were using substances. This would be an interesting research study to perform.

  6. Jennica Gilmore says:

    While I do not agree with doping practices as they are unethical and completely go against the idea of fair play, which organizations such as the IOC work so hard to reinforce, I do not agree with striping an athlete of their medal 8 years down the road. It is obvious that technology will improve in the future, but I think that athletes should be tested based on the technology that we have here and now.

    Not knowing the winner of an event until 8 years from now is preposterous! As a spectator watching an event I want to know the outcome of an event at the time the event takes place, and not later learning that they are in fact not the winner, because it is discovered that they engaged in doping practices. Spectators will start to question the authority of such agencies if they are unable to detect illegal practices at the time of the event. I do realize that some illegal performance enhancing practices are next to impossible to detect, but is the average Joe going to think of that? The only thing spectators will see is that the agency deems the athlete as fit to compete because they are "clean" and then later strip this same athlete of their medal because they were in fact not "clean." I think that spectators will quickly lose interest in competitive sport and lose the respect for these agencies. Doping IS wrong and it is important that these agencies continue to have the utmost respect that it deserves and they will not get this respect if they continue to strip medals so long after the fact.

  7. Chris Doyle says:

    I, for one, would like to see the development of a Steroid Olympics. If there were no holds barred for every event, there would be no disputing who the winner was. Today, the integrity of Olympic athletes are considered quite suspect by most people. If we accepted and allowed athletes to partake in doping practices, wouldn't this raise the excitement in spectating? We know they'd all be on a level playing field, plus we'd know the winner of the event immediately. Not to mention the increased performance of the athletes. Sure, they're risking various health problems by injecting themselves with HGH and the works in hopes of winning a gold medal… I'm risking carpal tunnel syndrome by typing this out in hopes of gaining an extra 2% on my final grade. If "they're all doing it anyways", they're already on a level playing field. It seems pointless to even bother testing for performance enhancing drugs. WADA might as well quit before they get even further behind in their inability to test for certain drugs. It's time to regain the excitement of the Olympics and allow the athletes to do as they please.

  8. Chris Brown says:

    Earlier Jennica stated that "The only thing spectators will see is that the agency deems the athlete as fit to compete because they are 'clean' and then later strip this same athlete of their medal because they were in fact not 'clean.'"

    Here's an idea for WADA: do testing prior to a final (so have the semis or last heats a day before the finals to allow time for testing). Any positive tests could be removed from the fianls, and so every athlete competing in the finals could be reasonably assumed "clean".

    Of course this would have some issues:
    Namely, the length of time to perform the analysis of the sample. The lack of time for an appeal (which could be critical if there was a false positive test). Finally, some athletes might have a problem with pre-testing. For instance, endurance athletes, whom might not want blood cells taken out of their bodies because that would mean a reduced oxygen carrying capacity and aerobic efficiency.

    Although, I believe that a "steroid olympics" is inevitable, this pre-testing could be an option to keep the olympics as they were intended for as long as possible.

  9. Michelle Reichert says:

    I have 2 major issues with the issue of current drug testing in sport…
    The first issue that comes to my mind is a personal experience of mine regarding the issue of what is acceptable and what is considered a performance enhancing drug. For example, the issue of cold medicine. I am a synchronized swimmer and in high school competed at the Canadian National Synchronized Swimming Competition. To compete, every athlete has to sign a consent form to be drug tested- usually for the top three placings. However, what one must realise is the range of substances which are band from competition- and for myself, the effects this could have. At the time I had a sinus cold- and for those of you who don’t know, going under water with a sinus infection is one of the most painful things you can do- the pressure of the water is so bad that your sinuses feel as thought they are bubbling in your head and the pressure can cause you to somewhat lose your sight and black out until you come up and out of the water. This being the case I was seriously in need of some cold medicine which can totally eliminate this problem- very necessary to do to be able to swim!! However, as mentioned, cold medicine is band and was not an option. Luckily enough for myself I found an herbal drug which was allowed and seemed to work, however, had I not, I would have just had to take the medicine as to be able to perform. This would have caused serious problems in the drug testing we had since we did place first! All ended well and we kept the gold. Therefore the point of the story was to show how the rules of what is allowed and is not creates a lot of problems and sometimes the drug has nothing to do with the fact of drugging in the sense of unfairly increasing performance.
    Secondly, in regards to the 8 year period in which results are stored- I personally do not understand what the purpose of this is. By the time even a couple of years have past the athlete has had the chance to live the fame and glory which is associated with a win. In my example for instance, if tomorrow someone came to me and said that my tests were wrong and they were going to take away that title of winning the gold I am pretty sure it wouldn’t really phase me. It’s been almost 3 years- the hype of the situation has died down- I’m no longer in the newspaper, on the internet etc for it- it’s just a good memory to look back at. Therefore, rather than focusing on efforts to catch drug infractions years after the event, efforts should be put into faster more accurate testing so as to eliminate the need to test years after the fact.

  10. Ali Hodgins says:

    Cheating in sports has been going on since the invention of sport itself. With these new guidlines WADA has put in place, the winners at the next Olympics won't actually be winners until they pass that 8 year window. my main question is where will WADA draw the line? I'm all for trying to keep the playing field equal, but to a certain degree. 8 years is a really long time to be uncertain of if you won a medal or not. This will have complications not just in the drug testing world. Will these atheletes get the same kind of sponsorship that they have in the past, especially considering that these atheletes depend on these sponsors for their livelyhood. Will corporations like nike and rebok, who spend multi million dollards deals on sponsoring, want to sponsor "possible" gold medal winners? With all this new biological technology, will our sporting world ever be considered simple again? Are there actually still clear cut winners and losers?

  11. Alex Sillett says:

    It is really sad that it has come to this, for sports, society and for us as a human race. Greed has completely taken over our lives with the win at all costs mentality the basis behind it. Some may argue that win at all costs can only be related to sports but really the win at all cost mentality has come at a price of just plain life. Ever since the caveman days have we been taught to accept the idea of survival of the fittest. Society has changed overtime however to modify exactly what it means to be the fittest and thus survive, however we still strive to be the best in every situation, work, school, and sports especially, pushing aside those that are inadequate. The fact that cheating in sports has been taken to this level, that the overseeing commission needs to retain drug samples in order to try to keep the technology of testing up to date with that of the cheaters, shows us that the governing body's have lost control. The cheaters are in the forefront, they are running the show and the honest people are being left behind. The fact that people have begun to give into the idea of the drug Olympics is just another indication that people are beginning to give up, "let them win they are going to do it anyways". As a society we should value fairness, equality, and most of all honesty. Instead we are stuck with double crossing politicians and people going to no end just to win the race. What does this mean for drug testing, well if it were up to some people we may as well just give up, and it's a good thing it's not up to those people because the people who are in charge are taking the next steps necessary to ensure the things we SHOULD pride ourselves on as a society. Be it a small step, a controversial one that could start debates in infringing on some human rights, but I feel it is a step in the right direction.

  12. Jackie North says:

    Seeking the straight dope makes some interesting points. It would be expected that these samples of urine and blood must be frozen to last a whole 8 years. Its seems ridiculous to wait 8 years to know who the winner really is in the Olympics, it would have lost a little of the magic and excitement by then. Be extended beyond the 8 years is absurd people could have died by then becoming a legend and not being to truly enjoy success in their prime.
    What happen to the fun and love of the sport? A gold being turned over after 30 years is a little petty!

    In hockey we rely on technology with the replay having the last say, for intance if the puck is kicked into the net, the videotaping will make the final decision as to if the goal counts in regards to the puck being directed in purposly with the foot or by accident. If it was by accident the goal counts. So in hockey after the game the score can not change.

    So where do we draw the line? It seems a little overboard. According to Maureen Connoly, they almost would have to have seperate events one with dopers and one with clean competitors if everyone keeps trying to be the best. Drugs are clearly a problem.

  13. Jennifer McCord says:

    When we first learned about the 8 year rule coming into play for the Beijing Olympics, it made sense to me. The technology of "dopers" is continually increasing, and WADA wants to make sure that they keep up, and that the champions are fair players. However, after reading this article I thought to myself, "Who cares after 8 years." I agree with Michelle. After a certain amount of time has passed, does it really matter if your medal is taken away? Of course the public and media go into a big upheaval about it and plaster it all over the news, but the hype of the win and excitement of new sponsors would all be over and done with. Society moves quickly and a person is only in the limelight for so long. For example, recently Marion Jones was in the news for doping during her athletic career. I watched some of the highlights, but really, her time is over and I've moved on to look up to different athletes that are more representative of society today. If someone had their medal taken away 8 years later, a new Olympic champion, even 2, may have already overtaken their record and captured our attention. Should we be concentrating our media's attention on something that happened 8 years ago, and in all actuality doesn't affect our lives that much…or rather wouldn't it be more beneficial to spend that media spotlight on a grassroots level sports league, or the millions of starving children around the world?

  14. Jessica Damiani says:

    Anti-doping agencies have been created in my opinion to establish a fair playing field for all athletes. However, as athletes continue to try to break records of pervious athletes, many unfortunately feel they must engage in performance enhancing drugs. The efforts of anti-doping agencies want to unsure equal fair competition, but have they gone too far?

    Based on the means of testing, how do we know the context of how these agencies are testing our country’s athletes? It is unethical if testing is not in a clearly defined professional relationship, if athletes are not fully informed of the purpose of the test, compelling the athletes to take the test, not revealing how the results will be completely used and by whom, and inappropriate administration of human substrates.

    For example, how is it possible for urine to maintain its original state over a time span of 8 years? According to the British Columba Health Guide, several factors affect the colour of urine, these consist of fluid balance, diet, medicines, and/or diseases. The darker the urine means there is less water in the body and the lighter the urine means the body is more hydrated. When urine is examined the pH is measured, it shows either how acidic or alkaline (basic) the urine is. For example, urine with the pH of 4 would be considered extremely acidic; where as a pH of 9 would be considered very alkaline. A pH of 7 is considered to be neutral (neither acidic nor alkaline). How would it be possible to preserve urine for 8 years when its components can constantly change on a daily basis? In my opinion it is unethical to keep human substrates for such a long period of time-it seems like we are testing athlete’s bodily fluids until researchers can find something wrong with it. If researchers have a total of 8 years to test athletes, they might over analysis results and even miss interpret/ wrongly diagnosis their findings.

    As a result of the increased demands placed on the athletes to achieve athletic success (ie- a gold medal or a world record), it is undoubtedly that they may engaged in performance enhancing drugs. As a society we must address the problem rather then just looking at the outcomes. The problem may be that athletes have too much pressure from there coach, teammates or country. As athletes attempt to meet the expectations placed on them, agencies feel that they must step in and take over. Despite WADA’s efforts, they can be consider invasive and unethical as they try to improve the rights of athletes in attempt to create a ‘fair competition’.

  15. Natasha Rubenschuh says:

    First and foremost, I would like to say that I think doping is completely unethical and drags the dignity of sport to a new low every time an athlete engages in the practice of doping. I agree with Mark in saying that no matter how many advancements WADA creates to detect athletes that use performance enhancing drugs and methods, athletes will be one step ahead trying to develop new ways to cheat. I believe that the value of medals, records and titles seem to be almost worthless until the time period of eight years has elapsed in order for them to have any validity. To me we might as well not even present the medal until the athlete’s credibility can be scientifically determined. Athletes who choose to dope seem to have so much to gain by doing so. If it takes eight years for accurate results to be established that is enough time for an athlete bask in the glory of the perceived success. I do not believe the current stripping of medals, and the deletion of competitive records has received nearly the amount of publicity and media interest that the title or record did initially, therefore where is major deterrent for the cheating athlete? The present moment of the athletic competition and glory trumps the aftermath each time.

    I believe we are still missing the bigger picture of this issue. We are focusing on being a reactive society and not addressing the issue of why athletes choose to dope in the first place. Are the costs not high enough for athlete and their support staff who choose to involve themselves in these unfair practices? During international competition should we be harder on the nation that the competitor represents therefore forcing sovereign states to police their own athletes and make sure they have been appropriately selected to compete in international competition? We need be proactive in our approach to doping issues and stop trying to fix mistakes eight years after the fact.

  16. Kate Verheyen says:

    When I think about doping in sport and the extent to which WADA has gone in order to crack down on doping, in order to reclaim the essence of "substance-free sport", a couple of things come to mind. First of all, the means of ingesting substances in order to heighten, or improve performance in sport has been around for more than a century, and thus this idea of a "once upon a time" substance-free sport is nothing more than a myth. Second of all, I strongly believe that society has no right to an ethical or moral problem with drugs in sport, as society as a whole actively engages in substance ingestion daily to enhance everyday life and improve performance at work. The question then becomes, why are athletes held up to a different standard, when they too are simply trying to improve their performance? After all, is being an athlete not considered an occupation within our society that so greatly demands sports to be broadcast through our televisions daily at the touch of a button? This too is a form of work, and so should they not too be entitled to enhance their ability in order to perform their job to the best of their abilities?
    I believe that if one takes a look at the aspects within sport that so strongly grab the attention of the media and spectators today, they will see that it is the ability of athletes to continually break records, and push their bodies to the ultimate limit. With this in mind, I cannot help but feel that society's view of doping in sport as unethical is nothing more than a contradiction of what they so highly expect from their athletes.
    In closing, doping is a social practice, and unless society and the media is willing to place a smaller emphasis on winning at all costs within national and international sport, I cannot see there ever being an end, or a perfect means of cracking down on doping within sport.

  17. Lindsay Brunet says:

    The legalities and issues surrounding doping practices are becoming increasingly pertinant to the ethical component of sports. The issue of fair play has been completly distorted by many athletes who have engaged in doping practices. The moral issue for me is the first problem. I truly to do believe that it is completly immoral and unethical to cheat in a competitive sporting event. It represents the lack of respect that one has for the sporting industry that has allowed them to become the athlete that they are today. It is disguisting to think that someone who has acheived so much athletically feels the need to cheat in order to gain success. It is disgraceful to those that have worked so hard to acheive their goals to compete against someone with such low respect for the sport and themselves.

    The socially construced ideology of what success means is to often a contributing factor to the increase in the number of athletes engaging in doping practices. The term success has become completly distorted with ideals of winning at all costs. With the enhancement of sporting techniques and technologies records are continually being broken therefore many athletes feel the need to chemically enhance their performance. Bigger, better and faster is the ultimate goal of these performance enhancing users. The scary thing is that these athletes do not care about the health implications of these drugs but simply about the results that can illegally acheive.

    In regards to international competitions I do believe that these people should be tested thoroughly and be stripped of there medals immediatly if they are found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. There needs to be serious consequences to help alleviate future problems. I do not agrue with the idea of urine and blood samples being kept in a labratory for eight years preceeding competition. It has shown on record that many athletes have been caught after competition for using illegal substances. If the athlete has nothing to hide and the chemical and biological evidence can be stored successfully for this length of time I do not see a reason that this poses a problem. If the athlete has nothing to hide and then their is no reason they should be against this policy. After all, it is in effect to protect them from competing against other competetors who may be cheating or using illegal substances. Overall, the issue of anti doping is immoral and unethical. Although athletes may feel the pressure socially to use such substances it is important to remember that fair play is the only way to determine validity and true victory.

  18. Lindsay Cline says:

    It is unfortunate that programs like WADA have to exist in sport and institute such strict policies, but the reality is they have to. I applaud WADA for trying to clean up athletic competition and decrease the substance abuse. Notice how I say, decrease the substance abuse and not eliminate because I believe that we will never be able to completely rid sports of performance enhancing substances. To compare, we have had strict laws and punishments implemented in society to try and elimate crime since the beginning, but still crime exists in society.

    Going back to WADA, I am glad they are trying to weed out the athletes that are using performance enhancing substances however I disagree with the 8 year policy. Having the power to strip someones medal away up to 8 years after the event is wrong. A previous post was talking about how the body is dynamic and always changing, so how can WADA say that the sample they took originally from the athlete is the exact same sample they examine 8 years later. They can't!

    Looking at the 2nd place athlete's perspective that would be awarded the gold medal if the first place athlete were to be found guily of substance abuse, would they really feel like winners? Sport is very much a feeling in the momment. Eight years later it is extremely hard to recreate that competitive atmosphere and be excited that you actually won the gold because the athlete who beat you used performance enhancing substances.

    Our society is all about bringing justice to the situation. We want to right every wrong. We want to punish the wrong-doers in hopes that that will reward the right-doers. For example, a drunk driver kills a child walking on the street. Society wants justice, so that drunk driver is sent to jail for life. Will that person sitting in jail for the rest of their life bring back the child?…No! Will stripping an athlete of their medal 8 years later for substance abuse bring true victory for the other athletes?…No! Yet society continues to strive for justice and making things right. I believe WADA has the right intentions to clean up sport I just think they are going about it in the wrong way.

  19. Mary Beatty says:

    I believe WADA is doing their best to try and stop cheating and doping in the Olympics, and this is an honorable act to try and follow, but the truth is that there will always be cheating in sport, there will always be someone trying to get the upper edge. Although doping is wrong I think that if WADA can't catch an athlete at the current time, then the don't have to right to go back 8 years later to strip them of their medals. People who get caught in present day, have to get their medals taken away because it is against the rules, but people will always be trying to find better ways to cheat and find better ways to cover it up. So i don't think WADA should be able to hold the rights of these samples for more then 8 years because it leaves the results of the Olympics up in the air.

  20. Carly Longmuir says:

    It’s almost sad to see what elite sports have come to. The higher the levels of competition, the more athletes are subjecting themselves to performance enhancing drugs. In the Olympics especially, it’s almost becoming not a competition of sports, but who can beat the system of doping and get away with it. The technology of screening for these drugs is becoming more and more advanced and still athletes are risking their medals to get away with it. Is there glory in winning if they know they cheated? Now it has gotten to the point that we have to wait 8 years to see the ‘real’ winners of the Olympics. Is this really a valid solution? It seems more concerned about catching the cheaters than revealing who the real winners are. 8 years from now they could be taking away someone’s medal, but no one is going to care who the new winner is because it happened so long ago. It is almost as if they beat the system anyway, they still got the glory and attention and media coverage at that time of winning, not the actual winner who is getting their award 8 years later.

  21. Alison DeLeebeeck says:

    I truly believe that there will never come a day where cheating does not exist. Although we have taken many measures to ensure that it does not occur there are always going to be those individuals that can somehow bend the rules. I think that it is extremely rediculous that although yes we may have an 8 year window to strip the medals, WHY? Thats rediculous. So that person goes down in history for 8 years for being the gold medal. So they take away who gets it? No one? So then the second place person will then get that gold medal. Who Cares? It will be 8 years later and that person will finally recieve the medal that they deserved but they will never ever experience that fame and glory the same way they should have.
    Although techonology has advanced will this mean that eventually that all medal award winners will be stripped. This whole idea just baffles me. We should go with the techonology that we have now.

  22. Deanna Fidler says:

    From briefly glancing through some of the posts above, I do not agree with people making negative remarks about WADA. WADA enhances rules and regulations against doping in sport. Doping in sport is seen as an unhealthy, unfair advantage that should not be present in sport. Just like other rules that are placed, but still broken to some extent, WADA sets rules as well that some still find a way around. Take this perspective for instance: Rules are made in certain contact sports that create regulations for what are acceptable forms of contact, so likewise WADA makes rules for what substances athletes are and are not allowed to intake. Although, these are to very different examples, they are both similar in the way that athletes are obliged to follow both of these terms/rules that are made to create a safe and fair atmosphere in sport, but they both tend to be broken somehow as well. Now, as for having WADA extend this rule in allowing them to take away one's achieved placement from them if they are caught doping, it may be seen to be unnecessary for some but from a critical view, it only makes sense that we have come to this. Over the years testing for illegal substances has been found to be inaccurate at times due to new and advanced technology of hiding doping techniques. Therefore, with time to discover new found techniques will help them stop this problem. It is unfortunuate that it has come to this, but it is only because of people in the past who have discovered these obscure cheating techniques that have ruined it for us, and has brought us to this stage.

  23. Trevor Dandridge says:

    Personally, I think that this 8 year 'hanging on' period is ridiculous. I realize that there a drugs available that authorities may not be able to check for as of right now, but come on. I look at this situation much the same as an example of a hacker who creates a virus and an anti-virus software engineer who is always out tinkering with his latest to catch up to the hacker. This leads to further thought asking why is the anti-virus software engineer the one playing catch up? Why are the good guys the ones playing from behind? Why can't WADA be the one making new advancements that force the 'cheaters' to start all over again? And if the cheaters are so good at what they do, why don't THEY work for WADA?

  24. Jon Choptiany says:

    After reading this post in regards to the "8 year policy" on keeping athlete's bodily samples stored, the thought that immediately came to mind was: why do we even care if athletes are on steroids? Today's society lives in a world where performing enhancing substances exist all around us, however sport related performance enhancing substances are the only ones which people are making a conscious effort to have eliminated. Everywhere we go we can have a cup of coffee or a can of red bull to make us alert, we can take sleeping pills for rest before a big day, and we can take supplements to take the place of missing elements in our diet; but we can't take a pill to maximize our athletic capabilities.

    I understand that the Olympics is a competition of "amateur" sport, so there may be different guidlines for cheating in this competition. However, we do live in a society where we demand the best from our athletes, and we demand results in the medal standings. When you add in the pressure of all the government funding for the Olympics, athletes are pushed and pushed to deliver which can be tough for an amateur. If we are demanding so much, why are people surprised that people resort to these means? Furthermore, on the daily basis of watching professional sports, performing these sports is these athletes jobs; its their opportunity to put food on the table and provide for those around them, so why shouldn't they be allowed to do what it takes to be at their best? I would love to see the reaction of a university campus or office setting if all tea/coffee shops were removed. The bottom line is that on a day to day basis, the general public has the freedom to do what they please to produce their best results at their profession, so why can't our athletes follow this approach?

  25. Jody Gates says:

    Personally, I am having some mixed emotions towards the eight-year ‘hanging-on’ period regarding the detection of performance-enhancing drugs within the Olympics. On one hand I think it is ridiculous because there will only be ‘temporary’ winners, which defeats the purpose of the Olympics. I don’t understand the point. I strongly believe that there will be fewer and fewer viewers because people will not know who the ‘true’ winners are for years to come. I mean, imagine watching the Olympics and seeing your country gain a gold medal and during the medal ceremony the announcer says “Congratulations Canada on achieving a gold medal, however, do not forget your status is only temporary and you really aren’t a winner for another eight years”. Also, there is always going to be cheating in sports. I understand that cheating is wrong; however I feel that WADA has taken it too far.
    On the other hand, WADA is trying to diminish the amount of doping which has become a large and widespread problem within the Olympics. It is unethical for athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs because it gives a false winner and does not give natural athletes a chance to compete. Moreover, who wants a cheating athlete to represent their country? I sure don’t! I don’t want my country to have the reputation of creating unnatural and cheating athletes. The WADA proposal will make the Olympics a fairer environment that gives athletes an equal opportunity for achieving excellence.

  26. Emily Preiss says:

    Like many of the previous posts I tend to agree with my classmates that doping is unethical, and wrong and should be punished appropriately. Samples taken from athletes in major competitions are stored at the lab in which they were taken, in temperature and climate control containers for eight long years. In my opinion, eight years is a rediculas time to keep evidence against athletes locked up. If there is an issue of doping at an event it should be dealt with immediately and not years and years after. Is there really any reason why something that is as big of a deal as doping is, is only dealt with years after it is relevant? I believe that WADA needs to change their policies from the lengthily 8 years to a much more reasonable 2 years. After the two years, WADA shall turn over the samples to the lab, which they normally do after the eight years, and require proof that identification information has been destroyed by the lab. WADA also needs to extend their policies of disposal to be more strict in making sure the identities were indefinitely destroyed. The new version should ensure the person who disposes of the data is qualified to do so and bondable to do so, and it should specify how the data is to be destroyed, and what proof needs to be recorded of this action.

    One of the main problems with holding onto samples for eight years is “limitless postponement”. This questions why spectators would even watch the present day event if the results will not be final for eight years after the event. This is not fair to the spectators who feel like they have been deceived by both the media, and the player, especially if they have some sort of relationship to that player. WADA needs to be able to catch doping practices before hand, as to avoid deceiving spectators. This could be accomplished by adding an additional testing period a month or so before the actual event. I disagree with other above that suggested that we might need tougher consequences for athletes who get caught doping in order to deter others from engaging in the practice, but what can be worse than stripping them of their medals, taking back their title, and banning them from their work? WADA takes away all the athletes have, leaving them attempting a start at a new life, which may be hard as the media is good at exposing scandals such as doping.

    Additionally, WADA needs to be extremely clear on what substances are not allowed in competition. Personally I know that I have had medications, creams and inhalers prescribed to me from the doctor, that all contain steroids in them. It is unknown to the athlete if these types of medications will show up in WADA’s analysis as banned substances. If they are banned, WADA has a responsibility in notifying athletes of this. If they are not banned, this could lead to other problems. Say there are two steroids, one is contained in a medication allowed by WADA, but the other is a new form of this steroid that is used for performance enhancement. Sport becomes a competition of drugs and doping. Athletes compete to find new substances and practices that can be covered up and not identified by authorities to gain a competitive advantage rather than the true purpose of sport, physical strength, speed and accomplishment. I disagree with sport being thought of in this context, and thus I also disagree with the idea of a steroid Olympics. This event would not solve anything. It would just encourage athletes to be even slier in their doping practices so that they can still have that competitive advantage against other ‘clean’ athletes in the regular Olympics.

    In order to avoid the steroid Olympics, the focus of sport needs to be changed. It must change from a competition environment to a cooperation environment, from a determinant of power and status due to winning to a determinant of happiness due to participation. We must first understand why athletes dope. Reasons for this can range from making money by providing a record breaking performance, to gaining a competitive advantage to win and gain status. These reasons are the main issue with regards to doping. I noticed that this issues was brought up many times in the above posts. If students in a third year sociology course can understand the problem of doping needs to be tackled at the roots, at the base ideologies, then why can’t WADA understand this too?

    I would now like to agree with something; I would like to agree with Mark’s post in that cheating will never be eliminated. Once WADA gets doping under control, athletes will find other routes such as surgery that will permanently give them characteristics that allow for a competitive advantage. How is WADA to prevent this? Give athletes x-rays and cat scans before competition? Will they hold onto these for eight years like the blood samples? So many more issues are determined to arise in the future regarding doping in sport, which cannot be prepared for or avoided. WADA is doomed in their aim to eliminate unlawful practices in sport, this can be blamed on technology.

  27. David Tertula says:

    Doping in sport is not a new idea, it has been done since ancient times and maybe even before that; it is really too hard to determine when ‘doping’ originated but we do know that it has evolved drastically over the past 20-30 years. The real question should be “why are we doing such intricate testing now and not before?” I guess technology is at fault for this. Regardless of the fact that doping occurs, it is still immoral, unethical, unhealthy, and is an obvious cheating method. I believe that the problem behind doping rests on the shoulders of those creating the tests because it is always the people who have created something know how to conquer or beat their own system/test. Therefore the attempts to minimize cheating and ultimately eliminate it have increased but it seems that organizations such as WADA and the IOC will always be one step behind. I truly believe that they have realized this also because they are extending the time period in which they can test athlete’s urine to 8 years now because they know they don’t have the technology to catch cheaters but they may develop it in the near future. The anti-doping guidelines which are set in place now are aimed to catch the more obvious doping techniques, but the problem is that athletes have become more discrete with their doping methods. Gene splicing has been talked about to be the next way in which athletes can gain a competitive advantage. The problem is how are the athletes going to be testes for such a violation?
    To move onto the topic of the 8 year window in which an athlete can be tested for violations is absurd and utterly ridiculous. As mentioned in the excerpt for this topic how are the athlete’s samples going to be kept for 8 years and in the original form as when they were taken? Do the contaminants not break down? And who is going to ensure that the samples are not tampered with over an 8 year period? All of these problems seem to be very hard to ensure considering the time frame and how many individuals may have access to them. Another problem following this 8 year window addresses the fact that the athletes competing in the 2008 may not be breaking any rules/regulations and are in fact clean by today’s standards, but what happens in 2016 when new discoveries have evolved and now the athletes from the 2008 Olympics are considered to have cheated by 2016 standards. If and when athletes do get caught for doping/cheating even at an international level the media surrounding such events will disperse the information to the world, but I would say after about a year from the Olympic event many people will not even remember who won, unless they set an Olympic record or did something noteworthy/groundbreaking. Therefore stripping Olympic athletes up to 8 years after they have won seems somewhat unethical to me personally. I do not condone cheating or doping in any context but if an athlete is able to beat the system because the testing is not ‘up to par’ then they should have the right to keep their medal. This type of thinking does not support doping but rather indicated that the testing must be more rigorous NOW!

  28. Laurie-Beth Brown says:

    Within our society we are all striving for perfection. The perfect body, marks, jobs, car, and mate to name a few. We a "normal" people strive to achieve perfection within these areas. Why are athletes being penalized for attempting to do the same? We as society want perfection, so why are we penalizing these athletes for trying to achieve perfection within sports? We know that throughout history that sport has not been substance-free. WADA, has been trying to catch athletes but the doping methods are too advanced for them to keep up. By keeping samples for 8 years after the Olympics means nothing to the public because at the time of an athlete winning a gold medal that is all that matters. By WADA trying to enforce this policy it is ruining the games for the spectators. Soon it will be pointless to watch the Olympics if we know these are just temporary winners, why both to watch if we know the winner are going to have their medals stripped. It can be assumed by many that a majority of Olympic athletes are on performance enhancing drugs. Why not remove all regulations of substances and allow the machines (aka athletes) to do whatever they like to their bodies in order to attain perfection. We refer to athletes as machines so why not allow them to legally put the best substances into their bodies and see what the human body is capable of.

  29. Nikki Zouros says:

    By holding samples from tests for 8 years WADA is creating the idea of "temporary winners". Since substance use in sport helps athletes gain advantages that they would not otherwise have in order to win, does it really matter what happens 8 years down the road? At that point they're already gained and ended sponsorships and campaigns with corporations. By the time an athlete in high performance sport reaches their peak (the point at which we are concerned because they have won titles), it is unlikely that they will continue to compete at this level for 8 years. In fact, they have probably moved on in their life by that point. A winner is a winner in that moment, not before and not after. In a society where we stress "live in the moment", why be concerned with what happened 8 months ago let alone 8 years ago?
    Yes, new methods of 'cheating' will be in use in 8 years, and yes, there will be new ways to detect 'doping'. What I wonder is why WADA is concerned with striping medals from the past when it should be focusing on the moment, and the future?
    I think what needs to be looked at most is the reasons behind why athletes resort to substance use in the first place. I think we need to look at what sport means both internally and externally. I think that education and dissemination of information are important methods for 'cleaning' up sport.
    Since the separation of amateur sport from professional sport, I agree with the idea that it may be time for the creation of a new type of competition, that of modified sport. If we take the Olympic mottos literally, faster, higher, stronger and the echoes of auto racing technology in training and substance methods in sport, the creation of modified sport makes sense (see Tannsjo, 2005). We can then move from admiring natural talent to admiring the technology…and with this we will have to revisit the criteria for humanness..

  30. Alyssa Minor says:

    We are constantly making efforts to move towards a sporting world free of cheating and to one that provides a air and level playing field. Is this not an impossible goal? AS long as the “win at all costs” attitude is present in society, then winning at all costs is what will happen! Whether that cost be giving up a job opportunity in order to follow an athletic dream, or giving up your morals in order to hopefully achieve victory. You cannot make something with so much riding on it as perfect and ethical as everyone would like it to be. Sport has become too much of an importance in so many ways for it to have complete fairness involved. There is too much at stake such as money, representation, reputation and an athlete’s individual dreams. Parallels can maybe be drawn from the issue of affirmative action and the fact that some people say it has gone too far. It has gone so far in providing opportunity and equality for women and other minority groups that members of the majority have become discriminated against through no fault of their own. Is this not a similar problem with doping? We are trying so hard to make everything fair that we are taking away the joy of a sporting victory from the athletes who have worked so hard to get it. Yes these methods may be punishing unjust victors, but what about those who win a gold medal and know that they have not done so by any illegal means? Must they wait 8 years or possibly 30 years in the future to TRULY celebrate their accomplishment with the rest of the world and their country? It seems that in trying to punish the cheaters, such anti-doping organizations as WADA are also punishing the winners.
    Also, are we not focusing too much on the surface of the problem? The problem of doping goes much deeper. We need to change the way society mounts pressure on athletes and sports. We need to attack at the root of the problem which leads to unethical practices such as doping. We must ask “what makes an athlete turn to performance enhancers?” Socially constructed ideologies must have a part in it. Athletes feel the pressure to be the best and to “win at all costs”. Therefore if an athlete does not fulfill these ideals, he/she has failed society. And what left is there to do? It is too much a competitive climate with a sole focus on winning. What ever happened to feeling good about personal improvements? Everything in sport today is extrinsic and about comparison to everyone else. And that is most likely the root of the problem.