January 23, 2013
Should Rock Climbers Be Worried About Doping?
As climbing moves toward its shot at the Olympics, the stakes are rising for the next generation of athletes. Will the temptation to get an edge be too much for some of them to handle?By: Adam Roy (@adnroy) One of the interesting effects of the Lance Armstrong scandal-and here I’m talking not just about his appearance on Oprah’s network, but the whole Byzantine, multi-year saga-is the way it has unraveled the myth of the reliable drug test. Consider: The bedrock of his supporters’ defense has always been the story that in 500 tests, he failed to register a single positive. (The actual number is closer to 236.) Then, last week, Armstrong got on national television and said that not only did he dope, but the testing was so inadequate, he wasn’t even worried about being caught. Suddenly, hundreds of negative tests just don’t seem worth much anymore. Climbers don't really know how to talk about doping. Sure, mountaineers regularly use drugs, from Dexamethasone to Diamox, that would earn them a ban in a more regulated sport. (Another Himalayan mainstay, supplemental oxygen, was taken off the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances in 2010.) But thus far, rock and competitive climbing have been mercifully free of doping scandals, so the few bloggers who have tackled it have stayed squarely in the realm of speculation. However, as Jamie Emerson wrote in a post on B3 Bouldering in 2011, that doesn’t mean that the sport is necessarily free of performance-enhancing drugs.
But I'll tell you one thing for sure, interesting, and that is, there's a reason why those things are illegal. I discovered why, and it isn't because they don't work. I mean, you get strong as a freakin' black bear on those things in no time. It is absolutely crazy how strong you get on those. And that was just doing a fairly moderate dose, nothing over the top, and I quit after one cycle.Strong medicine. Maybe too strong for some of the young Olympic climbers of the future, who will have an entire country’s hopes riding on their performance: We’ll be very lucky if the doping scandals of the next decade are limited to pot and cocaine. But in the end, maybe that’s secondary. What’s going to determine whether climbing competition stays clean in the future isn’t going to be whether a handful of individuals decide to dope (because some almost certainly will) or even whether drug tests catch them (because if we’ve learned one thing from Armstrong, it’s that tests can be beaten, repeatedly). It will be the way that climbers as a community react, whether they give doping culture a chance to germinate or pull it out by the roots. http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/climbing/rock-climbing/Should-Rock-Climbers-Be-Worried-About-Doping.html?page=2