Thursday, August 12, 2004

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It's official: he's insane

Josh Levin offers this modest proposal in Slate:

Drug bans do achieve a kind of crude justice—you cheat, you're out—but who do they really help? Fans want to see the biggest stars compete on the world's biggest stage. And Olympians shouldn't be punished for their world-class competitive spirit—these athletes would eat dung beetles and drink sloth urine if they thought it would make them run faster.

There has to be a better way.

How about this? From now on, no one gets banned from the Olympics for any reason. Take as few or as many drugs as you want. Some of them can even sound like shoes if you'd like. How would that be fair, you ask? It's simple, really. Just make athletes lash weights to their bodies based on the amount of drugs in their system.

Each participant would be tested immediately before competing. An austere man in a white lab coat with the Olympic rings on the right breast pocket will then appear with a manila envelope. (Keep in mind that this will all be shown on a large screen in the Olympic Stadium.) He then pulls out an intimidating, multipage printout that lists Mrs. Drug User's infractions. For simplicity's sake, let's say Mrs. Drug User has ingested 5 mg of nikethamide. According to our handy conversion chart—don't worry, there's one in your official program—that'll be … 5-pound weights around each ankle for Mrs. Drug User. What if, like Kelli White, you get caught using EPO, steroids, and narcolepsy drugs? That earns you a suit of medieval armor and a giant cannonball lashed to your left leg with five links of rusty chain.

Someone put this madman away ... or put him in charge of the Olympics!

posted by Suzanne Nossel on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM


why didn't anyone else think of this before?

posted by: Jennie on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

The simple way to weed out athletes who are on perf enhancing drugs is simple.
Make them compete nude, as the ancient greeks did.

It will be very easy to tell who's on the stuff and who's not.

A big ratings boost is merely a collateral effect.

posted by: Dave on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

I'm all in favor of this.


It needs to be like Saturday Night Live once conceived of it: The All-Drug Olympics.

We can have a normal, drug-free games, then the next week all the juiced folks out there can compete hopped up on anything they choose.


posted by: Colin on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

They handicap horses don't they? No, I guess that's they shoot horses, don't they, not shoot up. And this may be the last drug olympics. The next one they'll be worrying more about genetic enhancement. There may even be some of that in this one and it's untraceable.

posted by: chuck rightmire on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

Oh my God.


Hi Reihan.

posted by: Matt Stoller on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

Somebody did - Kurt Vonnegut. Although I doubt he was thinking about chemical capitalism in athletics at the time he wrote it...

posted by: Mitch H. on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

The problem here is that some athletes will be too poor to afford good drugs. So the United Nations needs to establish a fund that will pay for the drugs of all Third Worlders or others who cannot afford them. Once everyone has access to drugs, the playing field will be level, so to speak.

posted by: Bruce Bartlett on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

Another solution:
Just ignore the Olympics. Is memory-enhancing drug use rampant at your local bridge club? Who cares?


posted by: Steve on 08.12.04 at 05:53 PM [permalink]

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