February 27, 1998
Well, it's over. No more getting up in the
middle of the night to watch the Egyptian luge
team. No more head-slapping over why Gretzky
didn't wasn't one of our final shooters.
Yes, the Olympics have ended, and all that's on
at 3 am are exercise machine and juicer
And as inevitably as spring follows winter, the
question of drug testing came up again. For Canada
it was a close call with second-hand smoke, and we
all held our breath (if you'll pardon the
expression) to see if Ross Rebagliati would get to
keep his gold.
They finally made the right decision, but the
bigger question of drug use remains, and I think
it's time to put an end to it once and for all.
I suggest we hold two different Olympics games -
one for non-drug users and one where anything goes.
And I'm not talking about Silken Lauman's cough drops.
The purists can see how fast and far they can go
with only what God and hard work gave them. The
others can take any combination of horse steroids,
tranquilizers and pineal glands that will get them
to the finish line first.
Personally, drugs don't interest me. I have
enough trouble with reality. I have about six
aspirins a year and faint at the sight of needles.
With my allergies, I can barely get air up my nose.
But I think an All-Chemical Olympics would have
several advantages. First, everyone would be
competing on an even footing - no more
Schwarzenegger-looking women from the Peoples'
Republic of China wearing a jockstrap. With enough
drugs, everyone could look like that.
We'd also finally get to see just how fast a
human body can go. Ben Johnson was just the tip of
the iceberg. A ten minute gymnastics routine could
be completed in a minute and a half. Heck, the
whole Olympics could be held in a single afternoon.
And think of the sponsorship opportunities. It
could be a pharmaceutical showcase. With the
financial backing of the major multinational drug
companies, a chemically-enhanced Olympics would pay
for itself. Heck, it would probably show a profit
if you add in the dispensing fee.
There would be a few drawbacks. For one thing,
you probably wouldn't see many athletes returning
for the next Olympics. Chances are, most of them
would explode shortly after crossing the finish
line. It's a little tough to do a McCain's juice
commercial from an iron lung.
And it might get boring watching Columbia win
every gold medal.
There may be some events that don't lend
themselves to performance-enhancing drugs. There
isn't much excitement watching a bunch of
snowboarders standing at the top of a hill giggling
and eating bag after bag of potato chips. And I
wouldn't want my ice-dancing partner throwing me
thirty feet into the air, and then forgetting about
It may even be that some games will have to be
forfeited on account of bad vibes. Or the Dream
Team could freak out and refuse to leave the bench
because the opposing players had turned into
And of course, the only way to make curling more
exciting is if the audience takes drugs.
But hey, no pain, no gain.
After all, when you take away the drugs, all
you're left with is talent and skill. And what
kind of Olympics would that be?