2012-06-20

Stop the "Witch Trials"

Here's an interesting take on the Lance Armstrong situation:
The hypocrisy of this witch hunt is epitomized by the moralizing over Armstrong's alleged use of erythropoietin (EPO), a natural human hormone that stimulates production of red blood cells.

According to the moralists and the rule-makers, it's OK to train at altitude to stimulate EPO production, or to sleep in a hypobaric chamber, which simulates altitude. But achieving the identical result using the same hormone by injection, or by infusing one's own banked red blood cells, can cost you all of your medals and a prison term if you lie about it.
That's from a recent USA Today op-ed by Dr. Norman Frost.

He makes a compelling point. Why is sleeping in a pressure-chamber (as Khalid Khannouchi once did, as he blogged on his now-defunct website) considered "fair," but injecting the hormone that such a chamber stimulates is "cheating?"

You know my view - I actually don't think Armstrong didn't do this for cheating purposes, but I do think he did it as part of his post-cancer regimen. But Frost's point fits my general theme of "where do we draw the line?"