It was a real eye opener. I failed to watch Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah but it seems like based on this book that doping in the cycling fraternity has been happening for years.
Tyler Hamilton makes the doping sound very understandable. You are competing in a sport where "everyone else is doing it", if you don't there is no way to will ever be able to get to the front of the pack, let alone win. Not only were they doping to aid their recovery time and haemoglobin levels, they were "donating" blood to themselves, putting it away for a few weeks and reinserting it during a race to give themselves a boost. Yuck!!! It is frightening what they had to to to create a "level playing field" for themselves.
|Hamilton receives a gold at the 2004 Olympics|
The extent of the problem seems to be enormous and the what they do to to remain undetected extreme. After reading The Secret Race, it seems to me that the only way to absolutely prevent doping in sport is to develop unquestionably 100% accurate testing for "performance enhancers" and I have no idea whether this would actually be possible.
The bottom line is that after reading this book, I am blown away by the means that they will go to to win. Not just in terms of performance enhancement drugs and other medical means, but also in terms of the extremes to which they will push their bodies. In cycling the maxim seems to be "the skinnier the better" up until the point where Tyler writes that his veins were clearly visible and that his wife claimed she could see his internal organs through his skin. Isn't sport supposed to promote healthiness? This level of extreme training that they push themselves to certainly can't be healthy. Tyler even admits that he struggled to go on walks with his wife at a decent walking pace, his body was so attuned to cycling.
I found The Secret Race to be a gripping and informative read and would definitely recommend it. It has certainly opened my eyes to professional sport and what the athletes are forced to do in order to get to the level that they do. My overall feeling is one of disappointment that it would not be possible to compete in that world without some form of performance enhancement.
Have you read the book?
What do you think of it?/ if not, would you read it?
What do you think of doping in sport?