By Jim Ferstle
The veil has been lifted to reveal the shortcomings of a worldwide effort to control the plague of doping in sport. For the better part of a day the world has absorbed the findings of a WADA investigation into an anti-doping system that has been touted as the solution to the seamy underbelly of a festering cancer afflicting the Olympic sports community. Instead the story being told is that of corrupt sports officials and administrators using sport for their own financial gain?
The 323 page report of the WADA Commission charged with examining the details of the latest sports doping scandal graphically reveals the fact the the anti-doping apparatus put in place to deter doping in Olympic sports is not working, some would say it has failed.. Rather than being controlled, doping in sport has been refined into a corrupt money making enterprise that is being tapped by the sports officials who were hired to attempt to stamp out doping in sports.
Sadly this is not a surprise to anyone who has followed the proliferation of the doping culture within all sports. The question hovering over sports now is can anything be done to reverse this trend? Are we in a downward spiral, a transformation of sport as a celebration of athletic excellence to a technological, scientific experiment among nations to see who can develop the most effective incubator for developing champion athletes? Is there the will and the resources to preserve the Olympic ideal of sport as a showcase of human athletic excellence? Or are we sliding back to the days of the gladiators where physical prowess is put on display for the amusement of audiences of spectators?
Are Olympic sports doomed to be just marketing tools for large corporations? Can they retain the objectives/values on which they were founded? Are the governments, the IOC committed to the fight against doping or will the continuing stream of doping scandals push these groups toward those who argue that the battle for drug free sport is a lost cause and it should be abandoned for a more "realistic" approach to professional sports where whether or not the athletes dope is not an issue?
Is this WADA report the turning point in the fight against doping? If so, which way is it turning?
The 323 page Commission report is HERE