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.

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  1. identicon
    ehrichweiss, 12 May 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.

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