There’s been a lot of condemnation recently about the Russian state – allegedly – sponsoring the use of performance enhancing drugs by its sports people, following the Wada report into athletics. Steve Cram, the 1983 1500 metre world champion and formerly the face of Kellogg’s ‘Start’ cereal, said the Ruskies should be unwelcome from international athletics until they ‘can get their house in order’. Stern stuff.
The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) also took a kicking, with the report accusing them of turning a blind eye to what the Red Menace was up to – at best. Puma sportswear special ambassador (to the tune of £100,000-a-year) and IAAF president Sebastian Coe has so far declined to comment.
It’s easy to see why people are upset, when one of the IAAF’s Constitutional Objects includes the mission statement that they will: ‘eradicate doping from the sport and safeguarding the authenticity and integrity of athletics.’ Very noble, I’m sure, but, come on, how very 20th Century!
Rather than reproving so-called drug cheats (pathfinders, is what they should be called), I think the doping of athletes should be positively encouraged and heartily applauded. Think about it – it’s in the interests of evolution. If we ever hope to colonize other planets we’re going to have to have lungs that process oxygen far more efficiently than we can naturally and have a muscle and skeletal frame that can withstand forces of gravity that would crush a tank. You can push sports shoe technology as far as you want, and cover yourself in breathable Lycra, but we’re not going to get the gains we need with a new sports bra and Lucozade isotonic. Or even a bowl of Kellogg’s ‘Start’.
The self-righteous, people in glasshouses censure of Russia is an abandonment of the future that Steve Austin gave us a glimpse of back in the 1970s. A future where humans were going to be better, stronger, faster… We’re forty years on and – outside the local gym where the muscle-clad roidheads are digging themselves with agricultural testosterone – where are the bionic men and women? With Steve Austin (and Jaime Sommers) in mind, we should stand against these Luddites and be looking to see how far we can push the human body. We need to grab the evolutionary initiative in both hands. Let’s take that flesh and blood envelope and tear it open. So to speak.
I want to see sprinters covering 100 metres in under three seconds from a crouched start – men and women who have thighs whose girth is bigger than a fat man’s waist. Swimmers doing a full 1000 metre race and never breaking the surface of the water, who pull in oxygen through a hairy pelt on their backs… And it should be the same open season on advancement for para-athletes. Why should the prostheses be limited to mimicking the able bodied? Let’s have robotic legs that have a gate that can cover fifty metres in one stride, and have them jumping hundreds of feet into the air. With macro bio-engineering, synthesized gorilla growth hormones and other such abominations of nature, we can do this. We can run where the brave dare not go… And this should be our quest, to follow that star… no matter how hopeless, no matter how far… And our athletes should be willing to march into hell, and possible renal failure, gigantism, erectile dysfunction and clinical depression, for a heavenly cause… And the world will be better for this, for that one man scorned and covered with scars, stretch marks from extreme muscle growth and knotted veins, who still strove with his last ounce of courage and Erythropoietin to fight the unbeatable foe, who will reach the unreachable star! We can dream the impossible dream! We can become our own Gods! Cue maniacal laughter. Hahahahahahaha!!!
And think of the spectacle for the audience. I want to hear Brendan Foster exclaim: ‘Way-aye, it looks like the Russian sprinter is out of the race – his right thigh has just exploded!’
And why stop with the more obvious physical attributes of the body? Let’s juice up the brain. Let’s have chess grandmasters with heads the size of barrage balloons, and a world where five year olds with fully loaded frontal lobes are squaring root and combing algebraic algorithms quicker than an Intel multi-core processor or Carol Vorderman.
All pioneers face denunciation and ridicule. Christopher Columbus, Nikola Tesla, Charlie Williams on The Golden Shot… One day, if we’re brave enough, future generations, with their huge brains and crazy iron bodies, will look back on Ben Johnson, Lance Armstrong and Ivan Drago as the Pilgrim Fathers of evolution, and see the rest of us like we do the knuckle-dragging, evolutionary also-rans, the Neanderthals.
So come on, let’s just do it.
13th November 2015