A fine line for athletes to cross
Re: "Is doping really criminal", Letters, January 29.
Thomas Turk's defence of Lance Armstrong's mere infusion of red blood cells to increase the oxygen in the blood by avoiding using the words "performance-enhancing drugs" is feeble. On January 21, Armstrong publicly confessed that he used PEDs to gain an edge in cycling. He also apologised for drug use to the staff at LiveStrong, his cancer foundation.
Is doping criminal? The answer is no. But lying can be. Go and ask Marion Jones, the US former world champion who won five medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and subsequently had to surrender those medals because of her revelation of drug use. She was sentenced to six months in jail for perjury after plea-bargaining.
Will Armstrong fall into the same trap? Only time will tell on the criminal side, but there could also be civil suits for damages from sponsors, the writers who were previously sued by Armstrong, and even readers of his inspirational book who are now disillusioned.
Competition is invariably inclusive of ground rules, which might not be the best and are subject to constant adjustment, but at least they don't allow competitors to go haywire.