Today, the latest edition of TriTime arrived in the post. This is the magazine of the German Triathlon Union. It had a very interesting bit about the state of doping, in light of the Lance Armstrong scandal. The writer is Mike Hamel (TriTime, 01/2014):
“Viel erschreckender ist aber eine neue Studie der Universität Mainz, die aufzeigt, dass mittlerweile angeblich sehr viele Altersklassenathleten in die Dopingschublade greifen. Die Studie ist allerdings sehr umstritten und löste heftige Emotionen in den Sozialen Netzwerken aus. Glaubt man dieser Studie, so wären 19,8% der Teilnehmer beim IM in Frankfurt Dopingsünder. Das wäre eine unglaubliche Zahl. Die Teilnehmer wurden bei den Rennen in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden und Regensburg mit einem anonymen Fragebogen befragt.”
“But more frightening is a new study by the University of Mainz, which shows that now many age group athletes are supposedly reaching into the doping drawer. The study is, however, controversial and has sparked strong emotions in social networks. If you believe this study, then 19.8% of the participants at the IM in Frankfurt were doping offenders. That would be an incredible number. The participants were interviewed at the races in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Regensburg with an anonymous questionnaire.”
It’s very good to see that there are studies being conducted about doping by age groupers. I stand by my statements earlier in the year that this presents a much bigger and more complex problem than doping by professional athletes; because for a pro, there is a lot more at stake. For the age grouper, it’s all vanity (https://purathletes.org/2013/06/24/vanity-unfair/). It also just so undermines the beauty of sport. Let’s face it: with all the sponsors, drug-takers, broadcast dollars, mercinary athletes and such, professional sport has lost much of its shine. Down at the amateur level, you’d like to think that people are playing and competing for all the right reasons.
Well, in triathlon, it seems 19.8% are not. I like this number. I reckon it’s just about right. One-fifth of the field. In a triathlon with 200 participants, 40 are on the juice. Maybe they only take stuff when they’re training. Maybe they’re middle-aged guys with low testosterone and a note from their doctor allowing them to get T injections. Maybe they just can only really feel good about themselves if they are 30 seconds faster than last year.
Whatever the maybe, 19,8% is a telling figure. I believe this is the study: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0078702