Do we just accept that sport isn’t clean and embrace performance enhancing drugs?

We’ve all been there. When you’re just trying to tuck into a bit of food when you’re in the middle of preparing for a huge sporting occasion and you accidentally eat contaminated meat. To make matters worse, that contaminated meat means you have trace levels of clenbuterol in your system.


And then to your astonishment – because all you wanted to do was have a lovely bit of meat to eat – you’re informed that clenbuterol is a performance-enhancing drug, which has fat burning properties and athletes have been known to use it to help them drop body fat and weight quickly.


This is the predicament poor Canelo Álvarez has found himself in ahead of his 5th May bout with Gennady Golovkin, the boxer’s promoters Golden Boy Promotions announcing he has fallen victim of this meat-based misunderstanding.


He’s in good company at least, with others having tested positive for it being baseball players Raul Mondesi and Guillermo Mota, the champion cyclist Alberto Contador, and a number of participants in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It can ruin reputations, as Sir Bradley Wiggins is finding out at the moment. He’s desperately trying to prove his innocence against claims he took performance enhancing measures during his Tour De France victory in 2012.


Whatever the actual rationale behind this failed test, why is there so much outcry about this anyway? With so much suspicion and so many fingers being pointed, isn’t it time to just accept defeat in the war against PEDs and embrace them as part of the theatre and drama of sport? After all, the testers seem to always be a step behind, so perhaps it’s time to level the playing field.


Can you imagine the spectacle of the 100m final with all participants off their nut on roids, with veins bulging out of their heads, competing to get a time under 6 seconds? Or  footballers with powers of recovery allowing them to play every day of the season, giving allowance to unthinkable broadcasting and sponsorship opportunities? Or even a 6 Nation tournament where the smallest player weighs over 17 stone, with the nimble attributes of an ‘old school’ fly half?


An alternative argument, potentially, is that those involved with profiteering out of sport should act tough and put in place genuine prevention measures.


Maybe testing should be 365, punishments need to result in multi-year bans, and broadcasters, management teams and advertisers should shun any individual who is found to have failed a test for Performance-Enhancing Drugs.


It might seem crazy but thinking outside the box like this could just work, no matter how innocently contaminated your meal might be, there may be a scenario where the drug cheats don’t win.