OPINION

The doping debate

…I am not an expert on the matter of doping control but it seems to me that the use of performance-enhancing drugs to boost athletic performance is the rule rather than the exception in the case of top-level athletes. Unfortunately, the ruthless quest to break records and win medals is not always fueled exclusively by heavy training. However, it seems that there is only ever a problem when an athlete is caught. Indeed, for years now, there have been rumors that there are sometimes negotiations about whether star athletes will be tested or not! But if there is any real will for doping to be stamped out, tests should be conducted on all athletes, especially the top-performing ones. As long as this is not the case, the lure of records and medals will continue to push athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. As regards the case of Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, we have not been in a position to judge whether they had taken drugs or not. The suspicion that they might have done, however, is justifiable. Even fans of the star sprinters were unconvinced about the road accident they were allegedly involved in; and this is because the duo have a far from peerless history. In any case, the whole controversy has cast a shadow over the Olympics. But there is now also the matter of attributing blame where it is due. And the sprinters’ coach, Christos Tzekos, provoked suspicions by making every possible effort to prevent the two athletes from undergoing inspections.