There we go, another one bites the dust. I have to admit that this doesn’t come as a surprise really. Being exposed to the media coverage of the drug abuse in cycling during the Tour de France the use of performance ehancing drugs was and is discussed in the German and European media all the time. There is a lot of fingerpointing towards countries which don’t enforce the tests and controlling systems of the World Anti-Doping Association. Germany is always portrayed as the glorious island where no doping is used whatsoever.
Still people tend to forget that there have been numerous cases of drug abuse in Germany over the past years. The big names being of course Jan Ullrich (Tour de France winner 1997) and Katrin Krabbe (track and field world champion in 1991). Both of them were born and raised in the former GDR where systematic doping was in place. Since the reunification a lot of cases were uncovered and a lot of former athletes went to court to sue their former trainers who injected them with doping substances without telling them. There is even a former female shot put athlete who had to undergo a sex change because of the male hormons her trainer gave her.
So when there are cases in the USA people in Germany always tend to point their fingers saying that they always knew those strange Americans were taking strange stuff to enhance their performance. But when a German athlete performs well – just look at Paul Biedermann who just crushed Michael Phelps at the swimming world championships – there is no doubt that that athlete is clean.
Putting this aside and going back to the initial news about Ortiz I said that I had a feeling that something wasn’t right in the first place. I have been following baseball closely for only 2,5 years now, but I heard about the scandal about PED use before. The way MLB reacted just seemed to fit into the general picture that Europeans have. Let’s be honest, there is no real testing system in place. When you tell players the date when they are tested there is no way you will ctach the big ones. Only the most stupid ones will get caught.
Someone who dominates the competition will always be doubted and the only way to confront this is to enforce a testing system which is absolute. The players should be tested irregulary, without further notice and at any time of the day. Only by doing this some of the doping will stop.
Will this lead to the complete abolition of the use of PED? I don’t think so. Just look at cycling. Anyone who watched this year’s edition of the Tour de France will agree that there is no way that this competition was clean. There is some sort of a closed circle mentality. The one’s who get caught will only tell enough so they will be let off the hook after a suspension of a few months or years. The rest of the gang will go on, business as usual. I believe that this year’s cases (Ortiz, Ramirez, Rodriguez) are only the tip of the iceberg and that there is a way larger contigent of players doing drugs. I further believe that this isn’t only done by the players but also by the clubs. They might say that they will ban players who have been linked to PED, but because of the dangers of using those substances it is always better to have medical personal supervising this. That’s exactly what happened in the GDR. Controlled doping.
And I’m not saying that the use of PED is limited to certain sports, I guess it can be found anywhere. The way European football players come back from injury in a ridiculously short time is just hilarious. They might not use it during the season, but they surely use it when the rehabilitate after a major injury. When 1.FC Cologne’s captain Ümit collapsed during a match against Karlsruher SC there were also voices of concern.
I guess you just have to cope with it. There’s no way people will stop at all, as long as their are those ludicrous amounts of money involved…