What is performance-enhancement? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 8th, 2016, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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What is performance-enhancement?

A brief ethical thought experiment:

Suppose we could measure something like heart health/performance (substitute this with another physical attribute of your choice, say VO2max, which is an indicator of aerobic endurance and measures the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can use during intense exercise). One does not have a healthy heart or an unhealthy heart; as with all things, health lies on a spectrum, so let's put in some arbitrary numbers and ranges, with 100/100 being the Platonic perfect heart.

Suppose the healthy range for normal people 80-100, while the majority of elite athletes score in the 95-100 range (we should expect the health demands for performing as an elite athlete to be higher), and a drug exists to improve your heart score by 5. In a way, the drug is designed to get the 75s up to the normal healthy range.

Certainly if someone is at 100, and they take the drug, they would now be superhuman, and such performance-enhancing is outright wrong.

But would it be wrong for an athlete scoring 89-90 to get her score up to a 94-95, so that she is at or near a baseline level with other elite athletes?

What about an athlete who is already elite at 95, who wants to jump to a 100, and lead the pack while still having a health state that is naturally occurring in the population?

In other words, do we have a notion of "healthy enough for everyday living" and "healthy enough to be an elite athlete"? When can we treat one kind of health issue and not the other? Should we let the genetic chips land where they fall, and accept that some people simply do not have the physical makings of an athlete regardless of their sport-specific skill, and if so should all supplements be disallowed?

Which notion of fairness do we prefer? There was a movie that touches peripherally on this; it was called Gattaca.

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met./All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet - One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;/'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet/One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet/One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get/One perfect rose.
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post #2 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

No takers?

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met./All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet - One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;/'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet/One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet/One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get/One perfect rose.
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post #3 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 04:25 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

I thought performance enhancement was having one's teeth removed...


meh
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post #4 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 04:28 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

I've been pondering this kind of question since the news broke. At what point does enhancement become cheating or unethical? Apart from not using banned substances I'm not sure where a line can be drawn. The athlete Craig Pickering has written an interesting article about this
Sharapova - Craig Pickering

I assume most athletes do what they can to maximise their performance from changing their diet to altitude training to legal supplements and enhancers.

In your example, assuming the drug isn't banned, I don't think it would be wrong to use it to boost your performance to the maximum 'normal' level. If someone used it to go beyond that, I think it would be unethical but if it's not banned for that use I don't know what could be done. It would be stretching what I would consider sportsmanlike or fair conduct but I don't know how that could be policed.

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post #5 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 04:30 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

Anything, whether legal or illegal, that enhances your performance. To think that what Sharapova did was unethical is just stupid in my opinion.

The belief that man is an irresolute creature pulled this way and that by two forces of equal strength, alternately winning and losing the battle for his soul; the conviction that human life is nothing more than an uncertain struggle between heaven and hell; the faith in two opposed entities, Satan and Christ - all this was bound to engender those internal discords in which the mind, excited by the incessant fighting, stimulated as it were by the constant promises and threats, ends up by giving in and prostitutes itself to whichever of the two combatants has been more obstinate in its pursuit. Life isn't black and white, it's gold.
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post #6 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 04:43 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

Caffeine , Gatorade is also ped
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post #7 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 05:35 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

One can wake up in the morning and feel stuffy and if they take cold or allergy medication, it's banned... Come back after a match pop a few Advil for pain and it's perfectly fine...

A lot of this stuff is total garbage.
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post #8 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:03 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

Thanks for this question, I have been waiting for someone to ask it. And I hope we can discuss it nonşathlete related.

As someone above pointed out the line between legally enhancng and banned enhancing is rather arbitrary (or do i fail to see the line?).

Athletes do about everything that enhances their performance. I mean the train, they eat...

What kind of sameness do we want as a starting point for competition? Does talent give you an unfair advantage? does athleticism? And last not least: money?
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post #9 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:10 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

the line should be drawn based on the athletes health concerns primarily. we don't want to see people get addicted to substances or have them suffer from the consequences later in their lives. outside of that i believe everyone is pushing the boundaries with whichever means available these days.
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post #10 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:22 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

That, theoretically, is what getting a diagnosis and a prescription from a doctor, and a medical exemption is for.

Allowing you normal health is not 'enhancement'. I take an asthma med with steroids. It doesn't make me stronger, it just opens up my air passages so I can breathe normally.

OTOH, a long time ago, I used to be into amphetamines. You could run forever on that stuff. That's definitely, 'enhancement'.
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post #11 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:22 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azdaja View Post
the line should be drawn based on the athletes health concerns primarily. we don't want to see people get addicted to substances or have them suffer from the consequences later in their lives. outside of that i believe everyone is pushing the boundaries with whichever means available these days.
this. it's about promoting a healthy image in sport and to those that look up to you. this is the main argument against doping - you don't need to put this kind of stuff in your body in order to survive and be healthy - they can have adverse effects and ultimately damage you.

and lmfao at caffeine argument. i guess banana/water = steroid/HGH to you guys.
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post #12 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:26 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

@Sammo why is thinking what she did is unethical stupid?
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post #13 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 06:32 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

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Originally Posted by The Witch-king View Post
@Sammo why is thinking what she did is unethical stupid?
Because all athletes (legally) do whatever they can to enhance their performance and it's totally ethical! If WADA says it's legal then it means WADA says it's ethical.
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The belief that man is an irresolute creature pulled this way and that by two forces of equal strength, alternately winning and losing the battle for his soul; the conviction that human life is nothing more than an uncertain struggle between heaven and hell; the faith in two opposed entities, Satan and Christ - all this was bound to engender those internal discords in which the mind, excited by the incessant fighting, stimulated as it were by the constant promises and threats, ends up by giving in and prostitutes itself to whichever of the two combatants has been more obstinate in its pursuit. Life isn't black and white, it's gold.
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post #14 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 07:03 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

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Originally Posted by moby View Post

Certainly if someone is at 100, and they take the drug, they would now be superhuman, and such performance-enhancing is outright wrong.
If 100 is the mark of health, (provided that over 100 is not a breaking point of health), why would it be outright wrong to have an extra-ordinarily healthy heart (so to speak, beyond normal human range of 100)?

Much of the frowning against drug-taking stems from its dangerous side effects (in addition to its assaults against the sense of fair play and sportsmanship). If there were to be a drug (or device or method) that improves human performance without attending dangerous side effects (and available equally to all athletes) why would it be outright wrong to employ its use?

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post #15 of 82 (permalink) Old Mar 9th, 2016, 07:14 PM
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Re: What is performance-enhancement?

Here's an incredibly facetious and potentially stupid example: What about plastic surgery? I imagine that the conversation about ethics orbits around the notion that you want your athletes not gaining an unfair advantage through unnatural means. But if you're naturally busty like Halep and you used science to reshape your body so that you can be more competitive? Or if you're overweight and you get a tummy tuck to be more competitive? These are surgeries meant to enhance your athletic capabilities. Where do you draw the line there?
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