If cheating doesn't help you win, is it still cheating? Probably. But, if cheating doesn't help you win, should anybody care? The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced this week that it has purchased thousands of kits to blood test athletes for HGH in advance of and during the Beijing Olympics. Yippee? Not so much. While major news organizations have been hailing the breakthrough, they've also been ignoring an article published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine that suggests HGH doesn't actually help cheaters win. The article reviewed 27 studies over the past 40 years and found nothing but a cosmetic enhancement as a result of HGH. The research is consistent with testimony to Congress from a panel of experts, including Dr. Richard Perls with whom we spoke in February.
To ethicists, idealists and mothers of 5th graders, this missing 'enhancement' in performance enhancing drug is irrelevant in the binary discussion of good and evil. To them, all cheaters are created equal. The truth behind it, though, is murkier. HGH has been lauded as the elephant on the field, an undetectable drug crippling progress in a war on drugs. But the data suggests WADA's test may just be a red herring to distract us from the fact that good criminals can be better than good cops.
Athletes know that the Agency was close to a test and they've also heard the data on HGH's (non-)effects. And we all know better than to copy off the kid flunking out. WADA might catch a few athletes this summer. But, while they're patting themselves on the back, be certain that the cheaters in class have a whole new formula for success.
So what are they advocating? that we dont test for HGH simply because there are more dangerous/relevant drugs that athletes might be using? I find it irrelevant whether or not HGH actually improves performance...it could make athletes perform worse and I still think it should be tested for if possible..why? It is the intent of the athlet which is of utmost importance..they dont take HGH thinking that IT WONT help them. Thier intent is to cheat and that is why they should be punished if it is found in thier system (barring some reasonable and logical excuse i suppose). If we say that it shouldent matter simply because HGH doesnt help thier performance, then we might as well say that you not actually a cheater unless you get caught...it pretty much follows the same bad logic.
I think most people would agree that if they can test for growth hormone, then they should.
There are many types of "advantages" in sports. The "cosmetic" improvements while using human growth hormone could intimidate other athletes. When the difference between a gold and a silver is hundredths of a second, everything matters.
Or they could just give up and even it out by having everyone take steroids.