So Bradley Wiggins has to play the game now. Sitting on the Andrew Marr show trying to explain, through Marr, to people who don’t want to listen, that his medication was in response to a medical condition and not an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.
Sure, the knowledge that he did this was made public by hackers, possibly (probably?) FSB Russian Int hackers, so maybe he should have to explain. Except he hadn’t of course tried to hide it. He had gone through all the procedures required by the sport and the intrusive Stasi like demands of WADA. To no avail. Such is the prurient interest in ‘doping’ ‘scandals’ that we drool over such pathetic show trials of humiliation; where there is’ no smoke without fire’ and no one is innocent, ever.
Sports officials, and commentators, and gurus, may bemoan this attitude with varying degrees of sincerity but they are the ones who have bred the idea and nurtured it and released it like a mutant virus into the wild of sporting endeavour.
They will argue that they were only trying to keep sport ‘clean’ and stop the ‘drug cheats’. And undoubtedly various sporting figures were using drugs to gain an advantage when this farrago of professionalised ‘dope’ hunting posses took off… But the mad, Alice through the Looking Glass, world they made everyone enter when they decided to treat sportsmen and women like criminals in a Kafkaesque farce has no winners.
Such is the paranoia engendered by this approach to the oh so serious world of monitoring kids games grown huge on too much money and sublimated national hair pulling that we have abandoned rationality.
Indeed UKAD: the British version of self righteous drug hunters, openly, and God help us, proudly proclaims: ‘The Wherabouts system is essential to protecting your sport. Simply put, Whereabouts is about openness and transparency, underlining the achievements of clean, doping free athletes.’
‘Whereabouts’ is the newspeak name for the requirement to let the drug testers know exactly where you will be for a 60 minute slot every day of the year between 0500hrs and 2300 hrs so they can perform random tests on you. Included in that are requirements to let them know access codes to buildings, security codes and if you stay in overnight accommodation away from home not only the name of the hotel but the room number.
We had a constitutional battle over requirements for terrorist suspects being overly restricted, but we happily agree to elite athletes being harassed in this fashion? The world’s gone mad.
Of course the reason the Fancy Bears hacked the records of UK sports people and made them public is because we were cheerleading supporters of the US led WADA attack on Russian sporting participation. I have no doubt that Russia enabled drug use amongst various sporting groups in its country. Just as the western systems of sponsorship and elite training allow various groups to do the same. Not all athletes/sports participants and far from all sponsors or training facilities. But not all Russians took drugs either. The main crimes in Russia’s case seem to have been a) they were state organised and b) they were designed to make Russia look good when it was doing things in international affairs that the old NATO countries didn’t like.
So free enterprise doping isn’t as bad as state doping and athletes from countries who toe the current western diplomatic line won’t get the full rigour of a WADA investigation, seems to be the main lessons from this.
What the hell has this got to do with cycling or running or throwing a heavy object or scoring tries?
I don’t know. Ask the people making a living out if it all and see if they can tell you.