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The sad spectacle of Lance Armstrong’s auto-da-fé serves up a pertinent reminder of the smug hypocrisy with which our media (and our government, as if it had no more pressing issues to be solving) treat the rather natural extension of the top athlete’s drive to win. Never mind that the notion of what is sporting has evolved from turning up one’s nose on the very thought of training — we lionize those who broke that particular taboo — to use of every form of medicine in the service of the quest, from nutrition to psychiatry — but only when they turn to pharmacology that they are paraded through the pillory.

Doping in sports has been an issue for as long as drug use was in general society, and the reason that it despite all efforts to stamp it out it continues and evolves is the same: when a natural market has been established, that means that real needs exist, and when they do, there always is supply.

It is time to recognize that what grownups do to their bodies is no more our business than what they do in their bedrooms and that by driving markets underground we do nothing more than create criminals of those who desire to excel or exit and bring into being vast conspiracies to off them supply.

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