Should Living At Altitude Be Banned Like Steroids?

from the forget-mile-high-stadium dept

Last year, we had a story that asked If Steroids Are Cheating, Why Isn't LASIK? Both are artificial, technology-based enhancements that athletes use to improve performance over what it would be naturally. While the sporting world isn't yet looking into banning LASIK, they may be banning a different type of technology enhancement: the high altitude tent or any similar system that simulates the oxygen levels at a high altitude. Such systems have been used by athletes for years, after it was shown that living at altitude increases your endurance -- especially if you then train at lower altitudes. The ultimate solution, then, is a system that makes your body think you're at higher altitudes when you sleep or are at home, but then when you train, you're actually at the lower altitudes. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is considering making the use of any such altitude simulation system just as forbidden as the use of steroids, saying it's a similar form of cheating. Others, however, wonder why it's really any different than actually living at altitude. Maybe next, WADA will tackle the massive threat that is LASIK surgery.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), May 12th, 2006 @ 4:27am

    That really seems like a random thing to ban. You could always just go to higher altitudes. Is Denver suddenly off limits? I think this one will fall through.

    And how is it unnatural. It just simulates an environment that anyone could go to. It only exists for convience, not cheating.

    It's not like the creator of it decided he wanted to play with atmosphere one day. The benifits of high altitude were already known and he just simulated it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Stoned4Life, May 12th, 2006 @ 4:30am

    Want the altitude, live at it

    If you want to experience a high altitude to take advantage of this type of training, then go live somewhere at a high altitude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    data64, May 12th, 2006 @ 4:34am

    eye glasses and contact lenses

    If they ban LASIK, wouldn't they have to ban eye glasses and contact lenses too. I am not sure how LASIK is much different from the other two in this respect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    ChronoFish, May 12th, 2006 @ 4:37am

    Natural enhancements

    Living/training at altitude certainly does give a bennefit, but more so when the competition is held at altitude (where those who have not acclimated will find walking up stairs a strain). While many world class atheltes have migrated to Boulder or have choosen to live at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, your article pretty much says it - Living at high altitude and *training* at low altitudes brings the most bennefit. It's just as difficult to find low altitudes to train in Colorado as it is to find high altitudes to live on the east coast.

    Personally I see altitude training as much as a cheat as picking the right diet. Knowledge is part of making champion - it's not just brawn. The whole concept of trianing is "cheating" - I mean no one naturally runs 5 min miles for 26.2 miles. But those who have the natural ability AND the knowledge will be able to train to do so.

    So where is the line? In my book the line is with supplements. If you can't produce the energy or hormones you need to compete naturally form redily available foods and environment - then you're a cheat.

    Is this acceptable? It depends on whether you're an athlete or an entertainer. If you are in the NBA, NFL, NBL, etc - then you are an entertainer - drug up, juice up, do what you need to do to get paid.

    If you are an olympian, going for world records, or the like - then you're an athlete and your resources should be much more limited.

    -CF

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    So Dumb, May 12th, 2006 @ 5:10am

    Steroids Much Better

    I live at a higher altitude, and I see faster results with steroids.

    That is so dumb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 5:29am

    Re: Natural enhancements

    Entertainer and Athlete is definitly an interesting comparison. I'll have to think about that for awhile.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), May 12th, 2006 @ 5:29am

    Re: Natural enhancements

    Entertainer and Athlete is definitly an interesting comparison. I'll have to think about that for awhile.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Bob, May 12th, 2006 @ 5:41am

    The Purpose of Training

    Maybe i'm mistaken but i thought that the purpose of training was to improve performance beyond 'normal' or 'natural' levels. While they're at it why don't they ban wieghts because that simulates 'un-natural' resistance. Also my understanding of this technique was that you just spent as much time as possible at high altitude which induces your body to produce more red blood cells, so that when you go to compete at low altitude your overall oxygen capacity is increased. I don't think that this technique requries you to, or is even enhanced by, doing your training at low altitudes while living at high altitude, but I could be mistaken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Yet another Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:14am

    LASIK and Tiger Woods

    It's a funny thing that Tiger's game actually got worse after LASIK instead of better. Google when the surgery was done, and his slump a few years back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    The Ghost, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:17am

    Tiger's Wood...

    I blame it on the niggers meself...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    not me, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:26am

    what the he!!

    Don't these people have better things to look into?? People who try and use steriods, hide the face that they are on the juice (most people anyway). Look in any cycling or tri magazine and you will see Pros pitching these tents. Heck, I know pros that live at altitude and still sleep in a tent. This is totally absurd, WADA SUCKS!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:28am

    Re: Tiger's Wood...

    WOW
    I blame it on the niggers meself...


    Thats the most intelligent piece of literature I have read in a long time. Thank you for your excellent contribution to this topic! You racist bastard!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Neal, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:31am

    Re: Tiger's Wood...

    I didn't know that KKK from Mississippi actually used computers let alone blogged. Thanks for showing us that you are ignorant (hillbilly translation - ignant).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    wolff000, May 12th, 2006 @ 6:47am

    Re: Tiger's Wood...

    All I can say is please don't feed the trolls it only makes them come back. As far as high altitude training I think the folks at WADA are getting high on something un natural. I wonder if they have to be tested, with ideas like this they should be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    StinkyPinky, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:23am

    Ban the Gym

    Maybe they should also ban working out in a gym. A gym is an artificial environment set up to stimulate muscle growth and increase endurance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:30am

    Ban the Gym!!!

    Now this is just ridiculous, but funny

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Pesti, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:33am

    Whats The Difference.....

    ....hmmm lets see....Money!!! Isn't that a suprise! As far as Pro Sports go, the analogy would be like betting on a fixed horse race. Unfortunatly, like always the real issues here come back sooner or later. Training, education, and dedication, are and always should be the the things that
    make the true "athlete" stand apart from the rest of us..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Re: Tiger's Wood...

    your an idiot

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:48am

    nitrogen

    i was watching the Discovery Channel a few weeks back and they were pumping a room with about 10% extra nitrogen while a guy slept so his body would do this exact thing(apparently it's extra nitrogen that causes the high altitude effect). They said he could sleep with the nitrogen on and when he got up he could train like he was at a lower altitude....rinse and repeat. Since nitrogen isn't exactly something we can say that someone has been using, I don't see a way they could prevent this or high altitude living without having someone from the olympic committee by your side 24/7. I'm considering getting some nitrogen so I can train at martial arts a lot longer and better. It's a semi-easy way out but I have no desire to get into steroids so it's a lot better than nothing.

    Does anyone know if they ever banned "blood packing" where you would "donate" a pint of red blood cells and then a month later they'd pump that blood back into you? That's basically what the high altitude and nitrogen do so I'm curious how they approach the concept.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    You are no diferent, May 12th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Tiger's Wood...

    Truly your comment is just as ignorant Neal. Nice to see you can generalize and be prejudice and it is ok based on the group you single out. Kudos to your upbringing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    mousy, May 12th, 2006 @ 8:04am

    and so we all get aids

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Daryl Ducharme, May 12th, 2006 @ 8:06am

    the difference

    I think the main difference between steroids and other things is the dangers it poses to the different subsystems (read organs) of the body. I do not know what effect these simulated high altitude training methods have on people's bodies. If there are negative, long term effects then that would be the difference.

    Having been training while living in Denver then moving to the east coast near the ocean and training, the difference in endurance is definately huge. I felt like I could go all day at first. Of course now...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Steve Schindler, May 12th, 2006 @ 8:08am

    With all these different ways to improve athletes, there should be a fair playing field. I think we should make high altitude tents and steroids mandatory. Maybe then professional baseball will be entertaining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Dan, May 12th, 2006 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Tiger's Wood...

    Ya know that they had to train at high allititude to firgure out how to type that comment. The intake of oxegen enabled them to comprehend how to process lack of thought to a keyboard.


    dan

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Tiger's Wood...

    Okay, we've had enough righteous indignation for one thread. Everyone just shut up about the Tiger Wood's comment now. This isn't slashdot after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Posterlogo, May 12th, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Apples and oranges.

    LASIK is meant to replace something broken. I see no problem with that. Steroids add something you should never have -- unnaturally excess muscle mass. If LASIK is used to enhance vision significantly over 20/20, then that may be a problem, but just repairing myopia is as acceptable as repairing a broken bone. That whole oxygen tent thing is just ridiculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    slick, May 12th, 2006 @ 9:34am

    Re: eye glasses and contact lenses

    You must not need vision correction. Glasses are vastly inferior to contacts for many reasons; they fog up, they fall off, they get dirty they reduce you FOV and many other things that generally suck. For sports they are more of a problem than a cure. Contact lenses can also fail. They can dry out, fall out, they make it more difficult if you get something in your eye.

    Lasik has none of these problems. And unlike glasses or contacts, Lasik can make you vision better than 20/20.

    I don't agree that Lasik should be prohibited in sports, but comparing it glasses or contacts is like comparing running shoes to a wheelchair.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    So Dumb, May 12th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Steroids

    Wish I had some.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 10:27am

    why don't they just ban training altogether? if these people really are "amateur" athletes, training would really ruin it. they should just walk out on the field and go at it. years of intensive training takes all the fun out of it. the olympics would be alot more interesting if it was more like my wednesday night softball league.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Apennismightier, May 12th, 2006 @ 10:54am

    The athletes did this to themselves. They took the steroids too far and ruined baseball (not that it was at all interestin in the first place) and for some reason made everyone think that Congress gave a shit, as well as the rest of the world. Now, they're looking for the next big thing to bitch about. Pretty soon they'll be banning cotton or mesh uniforms claiming that teams don't sweat as much in certain uniforms, giving other teams an advantage in how much heat exhaustion they're exposed to.

    Other than football, everything else in the sports world has become a joke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:00am

    i say let them do it all, allow steroids for ALL the athletes - then its not unbalanced, hell let them take crack and maul each other with bats. anything to make that boring ass game more entertaining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Special K, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:04am

    Enhanced Olympics

    I think we should have an 'Enhanced Olympics.' Basically anything goes. Come one come all. How much can you enhance your body to do amazing things. It's already happening, so this would just make is lawful and out in the open. The entertainment factor is a no brainer and imagine the sponsorships. That would leave the 'Nautral Olympics' to those interested in that form of competion. Then if you are caught 'enhancing,' your scores are transferred to the 'enhanced olymics.' No need to get in trouble or have huge scandals. For marketing, I think a better name would be, "Super Olymics" - I know I'd watch both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Justin, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:12am

    Re: Apples and oranges.

    "steroids add something you should never have"
    Bear with me on this one: If you train with weights you will eventually reach your genetic potential for muscle mass/strength. Your body has reached it's maximum capacity. Steroids allow the body to go beyond it's natural capacity and pack on more muscle.
    Each of us is born with different visual acuity. Each of us is born with different genetic potential for muscle mass... In my opinion both lasiks and steroids add something you should never have (according to your genetics).
    What if instead of steroids an athlete moved the tendon insertion point of their muscles to create more leverage/strength? Should that be legal?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    george, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:17am

    Illegal fitness regimens

    So if it becomes illegal to include aclimatization techniques as part of your training, will it be illegal to go to the gym and use all those unnatural free weights and treadmills in the future? At least that way, I might have a chance at becoming an olympian right off of my couch. Puts us all on the same level wouldn't it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Josh, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:17am

    ok. The advantage comes at competing at a lower altitude from training at a higher altitude. After being stationed in the Mountains for almost six months at over a mile high then going to sea level, the difference was amazing. I shaved minutes off my per mile pace...minutes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Justin, May 12th, 2006 @ 11:20am

    Re: Illegal fitness regimens

    Yup

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Adam, May 12th, 2006 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Enhanced Olympics

    How about 'Special Olympics.' It's not as far-fetched as it sounds, seeing as you're saying 'Anything Goes.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    F15h, May 12th, 2006 @ 12:28pm

    this is going to fall through

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    shableep, May 12th, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Well, crap. Then I guess we gotta ban Vitamin Supplements, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Someone, May 12th, 2006 @ 1:20pm

    Blood Packing

    Yea they banned that back in the 80's i do believe. The russian wrestling team was caught doing it to my knowledge.

    WADA are idiots. Are they going to start watching peoples every move? are they going to watch how much protein you ingest? Ban protien powder because its "unnatural"? just eat 4 more pieces of chicken and thats fixed.

    I think people get bored and look for things to get a stir.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    special k, May 12th, 2006 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Enhanced Olympics

    I agree that 'special olympics' works fine as a name, but 'special olympics' is already established and has reputation of being for physically and mentally disadvantaged individuals. Besides "Super Olympics" sounds better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Zeroth404, May 15th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    Have we all forgotten about the Constitution?

    Nobody cares about their own rights anymore.

    That is assuming they live in the US.

    Fooking amurikins.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:35am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Bobby Lee, May 26th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    STEROIDS

    i currently use steroids and thay work great for me and i will continue to use them

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This