Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Citius, Altius, Fortius, and God Save the Queen

At least one country is taking a dramatic step to ensure that every one of their athletes competing in Beijing this summer is clean. Britain has announced that since January 1, and going until the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) takes over supervision with the opening of the Olympic Village on July 27, every single British athlete competing in the games will be tested for doping violations, many more than once. The British have acknowledged that sports are a public trust, and are making sure that their athletes are worthy of that trust.

Well it is about time. As Jose Canseco comes out with a new book painting (true or not) more baseball stars as cheaters, and the Tour de France confirms once and for all that Alberto Contador will not be racing this year, at least someone is doing something about the pandemic of cheating that has gripped the sports world for longer than any of us would like to admit. Yes, there may be privacy issues at stake, but sports are a public trust. There will be plenty to worry about this summer at the Olympics, from China's human rights abuses to which country will win the most medals to the air quality in Beijing. At least we do not have to worry about one country's athletes doping before the games.

I hope every athlete at the U.S. Olympic trials are tested as well. I do not care if there is no evidence that they have or may have cheated in the past. You want to try out for the Olympics? Here's a needle and here's a cup. You qualify for the Olympics? Let's do it again. The UCI is in the process of implementing a biological passport for all riders this year. Why not have the same thing for every professional or Olympic athlete? Yes, it may be expensive, but sports are a public trust. Let's get it done and clean it up. Archers, windsurfers, soccer players, sprinters, swimmers, divers, and cyclists. I do not care which sport you play. I say test them all.

Citius, altius, fortius. Swifter, higher, stronger. Go for the gold, and let us cheer with a clear conscience.