Monday, February 1, 2016

What To Do About Amateur Doping

by Gordo Byrn

Dr. Larry Creswell's article on amateur triathletes and doping brings to light what I've known for a while. Lots of athletes are using PEDs.

If this is news to you then you're probably in a mixture of shock, denial and anger. I have spent years moving between these emotions.

First, the good news: always remember that most people fail to prepare. If winning is important then know that you can beat most amateurs through superior preparation.

Next, find something else to generate your sense of self-worth. Sport is a poor replacement for goodness through service. If you're thinking, "So what?" then stay open to the possibility of changing your mind later in life.

Now that it has become clear that I was playing a different game, I wonder...

Should I have acted differently if I knew today's facts earlier?

How should I use my past to prepare my kids for the choices they will have to make?

My challenges today come from making athletics the central pillar of my identity. How could I have moderated my approach without impairing the valuable lessons I learned from sport?

  • No posters of elite athletes on my walls -- there's too much that we can't see. Be your own hero.

  • No shout outs to, or associations with, athletes who cheat on their spouses and sponsors. I have justified poor peer choice by the fact that friends were winning races.

  • Choose events that don't attract cheaters. Training camps and expeditions brought out my best and made for great experiences. Those are the good times that make me smile today. Clas, Jonas, Molina, Johno and all my training pals -- thank you for putting up with me!

  • Look for long-term employment outside of sport or with kids sports. We are all changed by a system that rewards winning over goodness. Find a vocation that values goodness, competency and effort. I've learned this lesson late, but not too late! You can read about my search in my personal blog.

  • Speak your truth when asked, otherwise leave it alone. I invested so much of myself in athletics that I struggle to leave it alone! My goal is to do no harm and let the cheating move away from me.

  • Constantly remind myself, and affirm to others, that athletics is a personal journey of excellence. At its best, high performance sport embodies this concept.

Remember that an elite focus is a phase of my life, enjoy it and recognize that it will end. In my case, it ended when my kids were born. Mistakes are made, and passed into the future, by parents holding onto identities created prior to becoming parents.

Just like in finance, when I realized that I would hurt my friends by telling the whole truth, I knew it was time to go.

Choose wisely.

Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog at

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