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I can only assume he didn't understand how investigational this is. Or maybe he wasn't winning, and his job was on the line. This kind of thing happens often after researchers publish in even the most arcane medical and scientific journals. A whole subculture of athletes and the coaches and chemists who are in the business of improving their performances is eager for the latest medical advances. Sweeney knows that what he is doing works. The remaining question, the one that will require years of further research to answer, is how safe his methods are. But many athletes don't care about that.

They want an edge now. They want money and acclaim. They want a payoff for their years of sweat and sacrifice, at whatever the cost. Someone will use it to build a better sprinter or shot-putter. There is a murky, ''Casablanca''-like quality to sport at the moment.

Stargate SG-1 - Die letzten Momente *GERMAN*

We are in a time of flux. No one is entirely clean. No one is entirely dirty. The rules are ambiguous.

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Everyone, and everything, is a little suspect. Months before the great slugger Barry Bonds was summoned before a grand jury in December to answer questions about his association with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, known as Balco, which has been at the center of a spreading drug scandal after the discovery of a new ''designer steroid,'' tetrahydrogestrinone THG , a veteran American sprinter named Kelli White ran the track meet of her dreams at the World Championships in Paris. She captured the gold medal in the meter and meter races, the first American woman ever to win those sprints in tandem at an outdoor world championship.

In both events, the 5-foot-4, pound White, a tightly coiled ball of power and speed, exploded to career-best times. On a celebratory shopping trip on the Champs-Elysees, White, 26, glimpsed her name in a newspaper headline and asked a Parisian to translate. Later, she acknowledged that she had taken the stimulant modafinil, claiming that she needed it to treat narcolepsy but had failed to list it on a disclosure form. What she added after that was revealing, perhaps more so than she intended. But White's statement exposed another, deeper truth: elite athletes in many different sports routinely consume cocktails of vitamins, extracts and supplements, dozens of pills a day -- the only people who routinely ingest more pills are AIDS patients -- in the hope that their mixes of accepted drugs will replicate the effects of the banned substances taken by the cheaters.

The cheaters and the noncheaters alike are science projects. They are the sum total of their innate athletic abilities and their dedication -- and all the compounds and powders they ingest and inject. A narrow tunnel leads to success at the very top levels of sport. This is especially so in Olympic nonteam events.

An athlete who has devoted his life to sprinting, for example, must qualify for one of a handful of slots on his Olympic team. And to become widely known and make real money, he probably has to win one of the gold medals that is available every four years. The temptation to cheat is human. In the realm of elite international sport, it can be irresistible. After Kelli White failed her drug test, the United States Olympic Committee revealed that five other American athletes in track and field had tested positive this summer for modafinil. Did they all suffer from narcolepsy? That would be hard to believe.

More likely, word of modafinil and its supposed performance-enhancing qualities perhaps along with the erroneous information that it was not detectable went out on the circuit. It became the substance du jour. For athletes, performance-enhancing drugs and techniques raise issues of health, fair play and, in some cases, legality. For sports audiences, the fans, the issues are largely philosophical and aesthetic. On the most basic level, what are we watching, and why? If we equate achievement with determination and character, and that, after all, has always been part of our attachment to sport -- to celebrate the physical expression of the human spirit -- how do we recalibrate our thinking about sport when laboratories are partners in athletic success?

Major League Baseball, which came late to drug testing and then instituted a lenient program, seems to have decided that the power generated by bulked-up players is good for the game in the entertainment marketplace. The record-breaking sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have been virtual folk heroes and huge draws at the gate. Their runs at the record books became the dominant narratives of individual seasons.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee

Barry Bonds has been less popular only because of a sour public persona. But the sport is much changed. Muscle Baseball is the near opposite of what I and many other fans over 30 were raised on, a game that involved strategy, bunting, stolen bases, the hit-and-run play -- what is called Little Ball. Professional basketball is not generally suspected of being drenched in steroids and other performance enhancers.

But anyone who has seen even a few minutes of old games on the ESPN Classic network from, say, 20 years ago, is immediately struck by the evolution of players' physiques. Regardless of how it happened, today's N. It is played according to a steroid aesthetic. What was once a sport of grace and geometry -- athletes moving to open spaces on the floor, thinking in terms of passing angles -- is now one primarily of power and aggression: players gravitate to the same space and try to go over or through one another.

But it is sports that have fixed standards and cherished records that present fans with the greatest conundrum. If what's exciting is to see someone pole vault to a new, unimaginable height -- or become the ''world's fastest human'' or the first big-leaguer since Ted Williams to hit. In elite sport, the associations of competitors who have never been sanctioned for drug use or known to fail a drug test can still raise questions. Marion Jones, the breathtaking sprinter and featured American performer of the Sydney Olympics, was married to the shot-putter C.

Hunter -- who was banned from those games after testing positive for the steroid nandralone. Jones later divorced Hunter, but then trained briefly with Charlie Francis, the disgraced ex-coach of Ben Johnson, the disgraced Canadian sprinter who was stripped of an Olympic gold medal.

Guide SG 018: Menschen unerwünscht (STAR GATE - das Original) (German Edition)

Carl Lewis, the greatest U. Olympian in history and a longtime crusader against performance-enhancing drugs -- it was Lewis who was outsprinted by the steroid-fueled Ben Johnson at the Games in Seoul -- has been accused of flunking a drug test of his own before the U. Olympic Trials. Lance Armstrong, brave cancer survivor, fierce and inspiring competitor, has kept up a long association with an Italian doctor in the thick of a sprawling drug scandal in Europe, although Armstrong himself has never come up positive on a drug test.

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Even the substances themselves are murky. The Food and Drug Administration just got around to banning the sale of ephedra last month, long after the herbal stimulant was blamed for numerous serious health problems, along with the sudden death last year of Steve Bechler, a Baltimore Orioles pitcher.

The whole situation cries out for a dose of clarity, but the closer you look, the fuzzier the picture. Start with the line between what's legal and illegal when it comes to enhancing performance. The line, already blurry, is likely over time to disappear entirely. I visited a U.

Felix Oberholzer-Gee

This is a common and legal training method that Ed Moses, America's best male breaststroker, said he hoped would increase his count of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A whole team of long-distance runners sponsored by Nike lives in a much more elaborate simulated high-altitude dwelling in Portland, Ore.

The desired effect of the so-called ''live high, train low'' method -- sleep at altitude, train at sea level -- is the same as you would get from taking erythropoietin, or EPO, which increases red-blood-cell production and is banned in sports. Two other U. Much of the mix may well have been useless, but athletes tend to take what's put in front of them for fear of passing up the one magic pill. Everyone else. One primary motivation to cheat is the conviction that everyone else is cheating. To draw the often arbitrary lines between performance enhancing and performance neutral, between health endangering and dicey but take it at your own risk -- to ensure that sport remains ''pure'' -- a vast worldwide bureaucracy has been enlisted.

At the lowest level are those who knock on the doors of athletes in their homes and apartments in the United States and Europe and in the mountain villages of Kenya and at the training sites in China and demand ''out of competition'' urine samples. Higher up on the pyramid are the laboratories around the world chosen to scan the urine and blood of elite athletes for the molecular signatures of any of hundreds of banned substances. At the top of the drug-fighting pyramid are the titans of international sport -- the same people who cannot see to it that a figure skating competition is fairly judged.

In combination with the urine-sample collectors, the various couriers in the chain of custody and the laboratories, W. It is all an immensely complicated endeavor, one that requires W. And it is all, in the end, quite possibly pointless. Despite the hundreds of people and tens of millions of dollars devoted to the effort, international and national sports organizations may just lack the will to catch and sanction cheaters.

The United States, specifically, has been singled out as negligent in its oversight. It's hard to see how. The tougher question is whether it will be scientifically possible to stay ahead of the cheaters. The rogue scientists and coach-gurus have been winning for years, and they have ever more tools available to them.