Doping in sports is a cat and mouse game.
That’s the intro into a fascinating report that aired today on “The Bryant Park Project,” a National Public Radio news and public affairs show, exploring all of the ways that elite athletes will try to cheat during the Beijing Olympics.
The seven-minute discussion with Larry Bowers of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which tests for performance-enhancing drugs during the Olympics, runs the gamut from Viagra (it helps athletes only at high altitudes) to people predisposed to beat drug tests (about 10 percent of whites metabolize testosterone faster than others) to the whizzinator and butt wedge.
Apparently, no Olympic sport has gone untouched by banned substances. OK, not all of them. Bowers says they’ve never nabbed a cheater in curling. Table tennis, though, is another story. Really.
Then there’s the whizzinator, a device strapped to your inner thigh that includes a fake piece of anatomy – sold in different skin tones – so it appears that the urine coming from it actually belongs to you. It even includes a small heater so the urine whizzes out at body temperature.
Bowers says Olympic drug testers do a full observation of an athlete passing urine into a cup to assure something like a whizzinator isn’t in play. What constitutes a full observation wasn’t really detailed.
There’s also the butt wedge, apparently a favorite of Eastern European athletes during the Athens Olympics in 2004. There’s no delicate way to describe how this works: Stick a bag of urine in your ass, run a tube from it between your legs and hope no one notices.
“That’s probably one of the ones that we’ve all thought about and thought what a crazy world this is when we get to that point,” Bowers says. “They got caught by the observation process.”
Listen to the full story here.
Photo: Nick Laham, Allsport