Monday, May 12, 2008

Performance-enhancing swimsuit

This isn't a new story by now but still rather interesting. The Speedo LZR racer swimsuit. "designed with input from NASA," was introduced in February ans has been worn by swimmers who have set 22 of the 23 new world records that have been set this year. That's raised questions about whether the suit is an unfair performance-enhancer -- "drugs on a hangar" as one swim coach calls it. There have been suggestions that the tight fit not only streamlines the body but engages the central nervous system. Or maybe it enhances a swimmer's buoyancy.

I wish they'd stop all this stuff about performance enhancers and let athletes do whatever they want to improve their performances, and take on the risks themselves as well as reap the rewards. From what I know about steroids I have no interest in taking them, but I'm not a professional athlete to whom a small increase in strength could mean the difference between starring and sitting on the bench. To be sure, athletes are hardly role models for judgment (and I wish people would stop whining when they turn out not to be good role models in all areas of life), but if they're adults they should be able to decide for themselves what to put in their bodies or what to wear, just as they can decide what trainer to hire or how intensively or intelligently they will train. Having "performance-enhancing" drugs (whose performance-enhancing qualities are mostly dubious) legal would also make information about their pluses and minuses more readily available and most likely more reliable. When they're banned, the tendency is to talk only about their bad side effects and to assume that the performance enhancement is some sort of miracle.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Golfers, tennis players, and baseball players are now using homeopathic growth hormone oral spray. It's legal for over the counter sales and is very gentle on the system.