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Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva was thrown out of the Olympics and stripped of her silver medal Thursday for failing a drug test, the first athlete caught for doping at the Turin Games. Note that the skiers who were previously suspended (7 of whom had their suspensions reversed) for a naturally occuring biological condition, were not accused of doping.

he had tested positive for the banned stimulant carphedon in a urine test following Monday's race. Nikolai Durmanov, head of Russian Anti-Doping Committee, said a doctor who treated her for an ankle injury in January gave her an over-the-counter medication that did not list carphedon as one of its ingredients. If it can be proven that this doctor was the source of the drug and that the athlete had no knowledge of it, is it really fair to punish the athlete?

This goes back to the propecia issue - is it fair to condemn someone to premature baldness (or any other disease or condition) as the price to pay for athletic competition? Am I the only one bothered by the idea that an athlete must choose between treating their health and maintaining competitive elligibility? Why not give the athlete the option and responsibility of listing the treatments they have received and not automatically disqualifying them if they test for substances that are predicted.

I know the argument that just because they claim they are using Propecia does not mean they are not also masking something more serious. But does guilt by association live up to our standards of reasonable doubt? Surely the technology exists to distinguish legitimate traces of substances from the illegitimate. Are we damaging our athletic heroes by not allowing them to accept standard medical treatments? When did sporting events become retricted to free range athletes?

Who does not support zero tolerance rules because he feels nothing in life is simply black and white, but that it takes the consideration of knowledgeable men and women to determine the degree of grey that applies...
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