Steroids & Other Upgrades Are Here To Stay: Embrace The SuperAthlete
Updated: Jul 16
Through groundbreaking advancements across various fields, ranging from biochemistry to sports psychology, athletes today have emerged as bigger, stronger, and faster versions of their predecessors. The unwavering dominance of these extraordinary athletes is unlikely to diminish. To truly support their potential, we must provide athletes with unrestricted access to safe medical science and technology. Failure to do so would push them toward perilous black market alternatives. It is clear that modern athletes already possess superior qualities compared to previous generations, even without resorting to illegal performance enhancement drugs (PEDs). Their advantage stems from cutting-edge equipment, meticulously designed training programs, scientifically engineered nutrition, expert coaches, and transformative surgeries that were nonexistent just a few decades ago. It is worth noting that while these technologies are deemed legal, labeling them as such seems hypocritical. The time has come for a sincere debate on the ethical conundrums that surround us. Notably, elective surgeries that enhance performance are among the approved modalities, yet why are they not considered cheating?
Let's examine two examples that shed light on this matter:
1. LASIK Surgery: This procedure significantly improves eyesight and has proven to enhance performance across a multitude of sports. Historical figures such as Babe Ruth, lacking access to LASIK, missed out on its potential benefits. Imagine if he had this opportunity. Athletes like Tiger Woods, LeBron James, and Bernie Williams have all undergone LASIK and experienced improved vision, leading to enhanced reaction time, depth perception, and better contrast vision under varying light conditions. Moreover, LASIK provides a reliable solution for athletes who cannot wear glasses due to perspiration, helmets, or other gear, and for those for whom contact lenses may not be suitable in extreme environments.
2. Tommy John Surgery: This procedure, specifically addressing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in baseball pitchers, not only extends their careers but allows them to achieve success beyond their genetic predisposition. Around 500 major leaguers have undergone UCL surgery, many at the outset of their careers. While recovery from this surgery is lengthy, and the associated risks significant, the benefits in terms of managing pain, overcoming injuries, and sustaining performance are undeniable.
When we examine elective surgeries and performance-enhancing drugs, we discover that both offer athletes similar benefits: the ability to play better for longer while managing pain and recovering from injuries. The question arises: why are drugs vilified while surgery is not only permitted but actively encouraged? The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) attempts to establish a framework by establishing criteria for banned substances. However, the wording is vague, leading to diverse interpretations. Notably, the concept of the "spirit of sport" remains open to intense philosophical debates. While fairness is paramount, achieving equal opportunity among athletes is an unattainable goal. Nevertheless, if we ban PEDs on the grounds of fairness, all participants must have access to the same training resources, regardless of their financial means. Unfortunately, wealth often determines who has access to the best resources, resulting in disproportionate success. Unless we address the influence of money in sports, this inequity will persist—a similar challenge we face in politics.
Criterion 2 of WADA's guidelines poses another enigmatic aspect, asserting that substances must represent an "actual or potential risk to health" to be banned. This criterion encompasses legal foods and supplements, including everyday items such as water, creatine, caffeine, and aspirin. When used in moderation, these aids undoubtedly benefit performance. The two most common PEDs, steroids and human growth hormone, are FDA-approved prescription medications, posing dangers only when misused. Under the guidance of competent physicians, these drugs can be both safe and highly effective. By criminalizing their use, we force athletes to resort to purchasing dubious underground alternatives devoid of professional consultation and care.
Four primary arguments against PEDs have been presented:
Equal Playing Field Argument: PED users possess an unfair advantage, and banning them restores fairness and equal opportunity among athletes.
Health Argument: PEDs are detrimental to users' well-being, and a ban safeguards athletes' health.
Unnatural Argument: PEDs are viewed as unnatural and detract from athletes' achievements.
Role Model Argument: High-level athletes serve as role models for impressionable individuals, and a ban ensures that drug use is not glorified, deterring potential harm.
While spirited discussions have transpired regarding these arguments, it is crucial to acknowledge that PEDs are an inevitable reality, with technology progressing exponentially. Consequently, we should permit athletes to utilize PEDs and other performance-enhancing upgrades. Professional athletes earn substantial incomes, and the negative consequences of PED use should be regarded as an occupational hazard. Their freedom of choice should be respected while measures are implemented to ensure their safety. Moreover, as spectators, we yearn to witness superhuman displays of athleticism, don't we?
Imagine a world where:
100-meter dashes are completed in under 9 seconds
Baseballs are launched an astounding 650 feet
Football fields witness 75-yard field goals
Miles are run in under 3:30
Tennis serves reach a blistering 175 mph
Baseball pitches surpass 106 mph (Sidd Finch's legendary 168 mph pitch serves as an example)
Looking ahead, we can anticipate remarkable advancements such as gene doping, biologically infused nanodevices, prenatal genetic enhancements, and mechanical prosthetics. Futurists and transhumanists envision a future where humans willingly exchange perfectly functioning body parts for bionic upgrades. Moreover, parents may select superior athletic genes for their children, rendering PEDs a minor concern. Human performance enhancements are rapidly becoming mainstream. Therefore, the only viable option for authorities is to permit athletes to utilize PEDs and similar upgrades, provided they are done safely and under medical supervision. Suppressing our innate drive to seek every possible advantage for success has never proven beneficial. Let us embrace the era of superhuman achievements and let the games begin!