Tag Archives: doping

Bill CuddihyBill Cuddihy is a former Chief Medical Officer of Athletics Ireland and has been a member of the Anti-Doping Committee of Irish Sports Council since 2007

 

The doping problem is slowly killing many sports, especially Olympic sports like Track and Field Athletics. Major changes are required in how we tackle these problems. But how far away are we from Standardisation and Harmonisation in the world of anti-doping? The answer is, a long way.  ...continue reading

DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

Sport, the focus of so many dreams, hopes and ambitions is a part of life where we were encouraged to believe that ability, dedication and commitment would triumph over all adversity. Who hasn’t imagined a winning performance, making that critical score or crossing the finish line to the applause of the crowd: Daydreams of the young and not so young.

We could dismiss the occasional cheat, vilify the greed of a professional team, criticise the incompetence of a governing body but the systematic, structured and organised doping, bribery and cover up associated with recent scandals in athletics is staggering. First it was the Kenyans who betrayed our beliefs. Their distance runners, world leaders and role models, whose easy loping style, lightness of foot, and incredible pace suggested an awesome natural ability, winning almost all the major city marathons. Allegations of doping, while persuasive, seemed to suggest small scale, ad hoc involvement. Until the recent story of doping by Russian athletes, that is. This evolving story is much more dramatic than what we've come to expect as the norm; doping in Russian athletics is widespread, structured and systematic. Every day reveals another layer. And doctors were complicit. ...continue reading

DMacA_3Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

The photograph in the Globe and Mail was impressive. Thousands on the Ride to Conquer Cancer bike ride in Toronto reflects both the current popularity of cycling and people's willingness to support cancer charities. According to the photo caption, it had raised over $119 million; 20 million dollars this year alone. An immense achievement. Cycling has of course, been long linked with cancer fundraising through Lance Armstrong, long time champion for cancer sufferers who gave so many people hope and inspiration and raised millions for his cancer charity. Sadly, his doping admission destroyed his personal reputation and popularity, did untold damage to his cancer work, and disappointed millions of cancer patients.

Doping seems inextricably linked with cycling and will be once again in Canadian consciousness with the release on Friday June 13th of “La Petite Reine”, a biographical film about Genèvieve Jeanson. Its timely release will reprise the pressure on athletes to perform, the role of parents and coaches, and our own expectations of top athletes. The doping story in cycling doesn’t seem to have dimmed public interest however and, as the Tour de France begins in a few weeks, cycling fans will look forward once again to watching the pain, suffering, and glory of the heroes and villains of the cycling world and still hoping to believe.

Cycling is more popular than ever, in spite of the seemingly relentless adverse publicity—even if we allow ourselves a quiet smile at the modern cycling phenomenon, the MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra). Doctors are not immune and, if coffee room chat is an accurate measure, may be particularly vulnerable to the MAMIL phenomenon. It is easy to forget the risks, however, when thinking of the considerable health benefits. To give this a medical context, do read this Australian newspaper article based on the crash injuring Sydney Medical School Professor Paul Haber when a 4x4 vehicle ploughed into their group of seven cyclists.

What can we do? We need to keep in perspective the public health benefits of physical activity and the wider benefits of this cycling movement. Serious road crashes are relatively rare, but they are preventable. There is no medical solution, its about the environment, the law, and society. Doctors may not have a direct part to play in changing government transport policy, the legal system, nor road design but they can give leadership, highlight the risk of injury and advocate for change.