Thursday, December 22, 2005

The next hurdle

Gene Doping. Read it again. Gene Doping. This will most likely be the biggest problem in the world of professional sports, and we unfortunately won't have to wait long. Doping experts say that we might see the first cases of this "sci-fi" method of doping during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It will be the most talked about issue during the 2012 London Olympics.

Doctor Hemmersbach, anti-doping lab at Aker University Clinic in Oslo says "We don't think anybody is currently using gene doping, but we estimate that it's about five years in the future. It's an extremely complex field, and using gene technology as doping requires incredible expertise". Hemmersback is part of the IOC's Medical Commission Games Group, tasked with EPO and gene doping. We will most likely see it used in race horses and race dogs initially, but chances are good for it to transfer onto the arena of professional sports.

Currently, it is almost impossible to detect any manipulation of genes, but the good news for anti-doping agencies is that researchers are very likely to find ways detect it. Gene doping is dangerous for the user, since it involves injecting viruses into the body. This can lead to various diseases, such as cancer. Unfortunately, history has shown that some athletes are willing to take such risks. Just look at the problems that EPO caused when we knew less about it. Thickening of the blood and rapid drop in blood pressure would be countered by the cheating athlete by setting the alarm at night in order to get up and move around. This would increase blood pressure and blood flow, most of the time...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, the talented athletes (this means: the best athletes) are visibly better than others, although don't use doping. Obviously, the gene doping modifies the natural talent, is that the point?

Blogger mags said...

If I understand you correctly - are you saying that gene doping is alright, because it modifies genetic potential? If so, I must disagree with you. Gene doping is in no fashion any better than the use of any other performance enhancing drug. The idea is to modify / realize gentic potential in a legal, natural way. This means through hard work (training) and not the use of illegal drugs. Many "outsiders" get very wrapped up in how top athletes have such genetic advantages over "normal" people. Regardless of genetic potential at birth, it still takes enormous amounts of hard work and training to realize this potential. Cycling at the top level is still 99% hard work and training and 1% genetic potential.


Blogger sarah said...

Cycling at the top level is still 99% hard work and training and 1% genetic potential.
Then how come we're always being told that there are naturally gifted riders, such as Armstrong, and they are the ones who make up the best of the best in cycling?

Not that I disagree with you, it just seems that the public is told something completely different then how things really are.

Blogger mags said...


I undestand what you are saying. Keep in mind that the public's view of racing is created and molded by the media. The media's task is to produce a story that sell. More often than not, the stories you see in the media do not paint a correct picture of professional sports. Many times the stories are factually wrong or they only show a small piece of the puzzle. Let me address your comment more in detail; it is true that riders such as Armstrong have a genetic advantage by birth. I'm not disputing that. My point is that genetic advantage or not, pro athletes got to where they are by hard work, not by genetic advantages. I can only speak for myself, but just because my Max VO2, heart-size and lung capacity has more genetic potential than the average person, does not mean that my current performance is a result of that alone. There are hours and hours of bloody hard work behind those performance results. I don't like it when people think that performance and results are "given" to you at birth. Like I said, even with genetic potential - it is still 99% hard work. Let me give you an example; Lets say rider A have super genetic abilities, but does not train correctly or as professionally as Rider B. Rider B has less genetic potential, but will still out-perform Rider A, 9 out of 10 times. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that everyone can win the Tour just by training 800-1100 hours per year. At that level it takes luck, tactics, team, support structure and genetic potential. But the genetic potential part is MUCH smaller and more insignificant than most people think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! Now I understand. Thanks for your time!

Blogger mags said...

You are welcome.



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