[inspired by a story about Michael Vick which looks like it might be true]
After a couple of years of paying only marginal attention to the state of professional sports, I believe that I can offer a pretty doggone objective opinion here:
The height of competitive sports in the world is being threatened by the moralists. We want to see a man hit hundreds of home runs, yet he is told he must do it without drugs. We want to see a tenacious and aggressive quarterback, but we forbid him to nurture his nature with the fury of pit-bulls locked in mortal combat. We worship a basketball player who looks, talks, and acts like a hateful criminal, but we repress his persona by subjecting him to humiliating suspensions when it all comes out in court. We want to see someone sprint faster than anyone ever has, but we will not allow him to have an 'edge'. We want to see a snowboarder fly with confidence and style, but they are not allowed to be high.
We should stop crimping their style.
Beijing 2008 is the perfect arena. Why not have a juiced up Olympic Games, in which the world can witness the horrifying greatness of steroids? Rather than tempt a handful of the less scrupulous good runners into a few doses of physical augmentation, let's blow the whole thing wide open and legalize it. Chemistry might very well be the ticket to the three-minute mile. I think that the Greeks and Romans would approve.
We should stop moralizing and let intimidation, violence, and substance abuse play its proper role in athletics. The world of athletics is at cross-purposes, and the sooner we sort it all out, the sooner we can get the gladiators back.