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?
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  1. identicon
    jon, 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:57pm

    Enhanced performance

    So, specialized training that increases a person's ability is permissible [I don't want to get into legality] but something that permits increasing ability by taking some pill or liquid is not? Vitamins are OK, but steroids aren't? Special shoes or uniforms that aid running are OK, but something that allows the body to add muscle mass is forbidden? And what difference dloes it make anyway.

    Today's athletes have many advantages over the ones of even 50 years ago--that's the way things go. Are racecar drivers compared with the drivers of 50 years ago, or limited by the technology that was available then? Let everyone have the advantages of whatever technology is available, or make sure that "modern" athletes be limited by the nutritional, medical, and technological that were available at some to-be-decided-upon date in the past. And if some sport needs the help of arguments about the activities of the sportsmen playing those sports, then either let them have the help or let the sport die the death it deserves. A sport should be driven by the players, not by the fans that have no capability themselves except to argue about the sport.

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