January 16, 2007
Any good investigative piece should have some real world impact, and Michael Hiltzik's series on the ongoing fraud that is Olympic dope-testing seems to be getting some positive results in the right places. International sports officials have begun to lobby to end the policy of strict liability, which bans athletes from competition even when testing reveals amounts too tiny to have any effect, or where the doping was purely accidental. The International Basketball Federation is particularly aggrieved at the inclusion of cannibis as a banned substance, even though it provides no known competitive advantage to athletes; it is the number one cause of positive tests in that sport (who knew?), and the notion that an athlete can get banned from his sport and stripped of any medals simply because he got baked after competing is absurd. Moreover, the reliability of the testosterone testing procedures that has besmirched the good name of Tour de France champion Floyd Landis has come under scrutiny, apparently because the scientific principles it adheres to are similar to those of creationism.