Seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, has opted out of his trial. Although the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency takes it as an admission of guilt, it leaves him free to maintain innocence and tend to his foundation for cancer victims.
But it seems clear that the entire sport of cross country bike racing has been a research project for the latest drugs not detectable by tests, including “procedures” that drain an athlete’s blood, suffuse it with cloned human hormones that stimulate creation of oxygen-rich blood cells, and pump it back in before a race. Is this simply drugging, or something that may become a life-enhancing medical procedure some day? The only way to know is create two bicycle racing categories, one where anything goes, the other 'organic,' meaning drug and procedure free. Doctors would then be able to compare the two. If chemically treated athletes began dying at age 40 with shriveled testicles, it would be important data. If they lived long healthy lives and had healthy kids, doctors would learn from that too. But sports in general need a more basic re-conceptualizing.
Since South African double amputee, Oscar Pistorius, ran a respectable sprint in the London Olympics on prosthetic legs (since beaten by another double amputee, Brazil’s Alan Oliviera), sports in which all athletes can be prostheticly enhanced must follow. In addition to racing shoes, ice skates, skis, and vaulting poles, there should be events for crutches, wheel chairs, and prosthetics. On the Brooklyn Technical High School swimming team, I learned that big feet are a big advantage; with my 9 ½s, no matter how many laps I put in, guys with size 12s could beat me. Swimmers already wear caps, special eye glasses, and take an hour to skin into low resistance synthetic fabric suits. Why not swim fins and web-fingered gloves?
One day the Olympics and para-Olympics will be one glorious two-week celebration of talent, training, and grit. If events can be based on use of bicycles, racing sculls, and skate boards, why not human-powered airplanes? In 1979. Gossamer Albatross (see photo), crossed the English channel. Think of a hundred human-powered air craft—solo, dual, and team—racing from Chicago to New Orleans, or coast-to-coast! As long as the basic power is human, athletes should be free to use whatever gear they need. A brilliant new age of competition would dawn!