|Iím sure you all know the story by know about Floyd Landis
and his 2006
Tour de France nightmare. Iím not going to bore you with the details of
the drug test and alleged positive results. However, I do want to look
at that test and what it says about Americans and our views towards
American society has placed a negative tone on the use of steroids
by athletes. Itís often referred to as cheating and if an
athlete is caught with a positive drug test they are ridiculed in the
media for their poor decisions. The view and support of sports by the
American public gives a differing view, however. As a whole, we support
super feats of athletic ability and we revel in the excitement of
super-athletes breaking records. We love to cheer our team to a victory
and are sorely disappointed when the come up short.
We also love the images of sleek, well-toned bodies that are not
possible for many people without the use of a little help. They are all
over magazines and movies. We see images of these healthy-looking
individuals and the next thing we see is another warning against the
use of steroids. Again, it seems as if itís okay as long as we donít
acknowledge that itís there.
Professional athletes are under great pressure to surpass the
expectations of their fans and may feel the need to have that extra
boost to reach the levels of performance that get ratings, sell tickets
and keep them on the team. It doesnít stop there, however. We tell
teenagers to not use steroids because itís bad for their health, but
these comments mean nothing in the shadow of professional athletes
obviously using steroids and it getting brushed under the carpet. If
they want to be like their idols, they need to give themselves that
extra boost as well.
This puts steroids in an interesting role in our society. It seems like
steroids are okay as long as we donít know they are there.
Experts say that an increase in testosterone levels as large as Landisí
during that fated
test couldnít be caused by any other reason other than the use of
Landis holds to his story that there are plenty of other possible
explanations, possibly even several factors working together. Heís not
the only one making excuses, however. Athletes caught with positive
steroid tests have given many excuses for the positive tests Ė many
including fraud and being framed by opponents or fans of opponents. Are
they just making excuses or are they the victim of a cleverly planned
scheme by opponents? At this point it probably doesnít matter because
their reputation has been stained beyond repair.
So, does Floyd Landis ever have a shot at being a ďwinnerĒ again?
Probably not in the eyes of many people. Even if he would go on to win
a ďcleanĒ race there will likely be doubt in the minds of many biking