Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Question of Sport

Perhaps it did not surprise many that recently, Barry Bonds' former personal trainer Greg Anderson allegedly implicated the San Francisco Giants slugger in the BALCO drugs scandal that has become synonymous with sport's struggle against performance enhancing doping. But this little battle - for it is just that in the larger war - is far from over, with denials being quickly issued from both sides. To be fair to Bonds, nothing has been proven yet and his performance this year under intense scrutiny has silenced his critics, if only temporarily. Major League Baseball has not had a strong anti-doping policy and stars like Mark McGwire have admitted to steroid usage. The premature death of former NL MVP Ken Caminiti once again brought the issue into focus once again, although drugs of another kind apparently had a bigger role to play in Caminiti's case. It is worth noting however, that he admitted to taking steroids in his MVP year. The BALCO case, involving as it does a number of high profile athletes from various sports - not least track star Marion Jones and her fiance, the men's 100m world record holder Tim Montgomery, has seen the USADA take the bull by the horns, albeit with prodding and admonition from the World Anti-Doping Agency and it's head Dick Pound. Hopefully, the culprits would be identified and dealt with. The larger question is, though - will sport ever win this war? Stupid question? - NK

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