Where's The Boundary Between Improving Performance And Cheating?

from the everything-on-steroids dept

As technology becomes increasingly capable of improving the capabilities of the human body, questions about what's legitimate in competitive sports will become more difficult. One question that's been posed before is why steroids are forbidden, but it's fine for athletes to get Lasik surgery to improve eyesight. But these questions aren't limited to (relatively) new technologies. The famed pianist Vladimir Horowitz was discovered to have modified his piano to reduce its action, allowing his fingers to fly faster than similarly skilled musicians. After his death the Horowitz piano went on display, and anyone was allowed to try playing it for ten minutes. They all realized that despite the easy action, none of them could come close to Horowitz's brilliance, not even the trained pianists. The same is true in baseball; several players have admitted to using steroids in recent years, but only one hit 73 home runs. This doesn't answer any questions, but it's clear that the subject is complex -- certainly more complex than politicians or "traditionalists" would have you believe. So, what is the boundary between technology helping an entertainer perform and cheating?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Jamie, 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:49pm

    There is no easy answer

    Cheating when it involves modifying your own body will always be hard to define.
    All pro athletes modify their bodies in ways that are not normal for most of the population. Look at figure skaters with massively over developed legs and pitchers arms. Development like that isn’t “normal.” The ways they do it range from exercise and diet to drugs and surgery. There is nothing wrong with it. They worked hard to get their bodies in that shape (even the ones who took drugs). But the truth is that whether the mod is from surgery and drugs or from diet and exercise they aren't "normal." So it will never be easy to define what is cheating and what is not when you are talking body modifications. Your only guide will be current society’s views (accepted or unaccepted) of the modification.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.