It seems another of our All-Star American Athletes has openly admitted to unfair play while in competition. Antonio Pettigrew, a member of the America’s 2000 1,600 Meter Relay Team, admitted that he was doping during the time the team was competing.
As you read this, keep in mind that this is the sixth overall medal, and the fourth gold, that has been stripped from the U.S. Track Team in the past eight months. Four months ago the International Olympic Committee stripped gold from the U.S. Women’s 1,600-meter relay team and bronze from the women’s 400-meter relay squad because of doping by Marion Jones.
But, in light of these new developments, are any of us really that surprised? I sure hope not. Pettigrew’s decision is almost a non-issue seeing as how back in May he admitted to using EPO, a very powerful human growth hormone, regularly between 1997 and 2003. Along with Pettigrew, five of his teammates lost their medals. Most notably Michael Johnson, along with twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, Jerome Young and Angelo Taylor. Young and Taylor only ran in prelims.
“We support the action taken today by the IOC (International Olympic Committee),” stated United States Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel. “Athletes who make the unacceptable choice to cheat should recognize that there will be consequences. Those consequences can be severe including the loss of medals and results. We’re in full support of this action. In other matters like this in the past we’ve worked with the IOC to make certain medals will be returned, and we’ll do so again.”
Okay, so now you have the skinny on the latest HGH Olympic scandal, but can anyone reading this honestly say they are surprised? I mean, if you look at it, the U.S. is quickly becoming the worldwide leader In sports illegitimacy!
With Bonds, McGwire, Canseco, Clemens, Jones, Merriman, Pettigrew, Tejada, Shoeneweis, and so many others leading the way for cheating in professional sports, is it even possible for the U.S. to somehow save face?
Personally, I don’t believe so.
It’s important to remember that this country gave birth to and nurtured the WWE to sports entertainment domination. Guys with 65 inch chests, 30 inch biceps, and necks as wide as Oak Tree stump have been juicing for years. But since we never considered the WWE, or professional wrestling in general to be a legitimate sport, nobody really cared. They might start caring now!
Testosterone levels are at an all time high in this country. More now than ever, guys are strutting and posturing through locker rooms, flexing their muscles in order to make other men feel inadequate. And I’m not just talking about adolescent teens with a gross need for popularity, I’m also talking about these older guys who never reached the top of the popularity totem pole and who now feel like they need to prove that they are bad ass “Iron Cranes” who are not to be screwed with.
(And trust me on this, I’m a weight lifter myself, so my “Meat Head” credentials are in order. I do it for recreation and health; steroids and HGH do not promote good health)
I’ll take you back a few years. Some of you out there will definitely relate with me on this point. I remember in my Junior year in High School, I was on the Field Team, you know, Shot Put and Discus throwing. My coach had a trainer come in and show us a video called, “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”. It promoted supplement use, extreme workout regimens, and diets so radical they could make a Bulimic girl look healthy. But, the point of the program didn’t seem to be, “Get Healthy, Stay Healthy”. It seemed to be along the lines of, “Do Anything and Everything Necessary To Win”. Which is the absolute worst life lesson to teach an adolescent male looking for acceptance.
Back then the big supplement was Androstene. My friends would load up on that crap everyday before and after practice in hopes of achieving some new level of athleticism that had not been seen in high School sports. It was sad. And I told them exactly that, but they didn’t want to hear it.
But I digress.
This overuse of steroids and HGH isn’t something that has just popped up suddenly, like most people assume. These sport of practices have been going on for years. A few good examples being Terry Bradshaw and everyone’s favorite mass-murdering cyborg, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both of whom have admitted to steroid use, but back in times where it wasn’t an outlawed substance. Does that make it acceptable? Should we the public still accuse them of foul play or cheating?
I can understand why some folks would blame them. But in actuality, how can anyone blame someone else for using illegal performance enhancers? Unless someone forcibly opened your mouth and shoved pills down your throat, or stabbed you in the ass with a syringe full of chemicals when your back was turned, you can’t really blame anyone. If you took steroids or HGH, you knew about it and you’re at fault, no one else. (hint hint Roger and Barry) So the argument presented about who to blame for the steroids problem is simple, blame yourself!
Having access to something doesn’t mean you have to do it. It’s called self control! And most of these guilty athletes haven’t displayed the maturity or self-discipline required to make an educated decision about cheating.
So, when I hear about another HGH/steroid scandal in any sport, not the just the Olympics, I won’t be surprised. However, I will remember those locker room days. I will remember how the insecurity of being less than the absolute best plagued so many of my friends. I will remember the emotional stress and physical pain they went through just to get a starting position. And I will remember just how little they were prepared for the “real” world once they realized that being the best isn’t all that important to most people.
And that being happy and healthy are.