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‘The drug Olympics’: Tom Elliott’s idea to address drug cheating in sport

Tom Elliott
Article image for ‘The drug Olympics’: Tom Elliott’s idea to address drug cheating in sport

In the wake of Mack Horton’s protest against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, and the revelation that Australian swimmer Shayna Jack tested positive for a banned substance, Tom Elliott has floated a drastic idea to reshape the Olympics.

“Here’s the reality: Probably every nation involved in competitive swimming has athletes who take banned drugs,” the 3AW Drive host said.

“There’s too much pressure on these athletes to perform. Training alone probably isn’t enough.”

Tom suggested having two categories of competition — drug taking and drug free.

“In the drug taking category it’ll be anything goes. You’ll be able to push the human envelope as far as it goes,” he said.

“It’ll be a mixture of the human body and technology — the drug Olympics.

The 3AW Drive host called for tougher penalties for those testing positive to drugs in the proposed ‘drug free’ category.

“If you compete in the drug free camp and you’re caught, you’re banned from all forms of competition for the rest of your life.”

Tom said it would be an interesting comparison.

“How much difference is there between a clean athlete and one that takes various substances?,” he questioned.

“It might not be good for their health, but then again people do all sorts of things that are bad for their health.”

Professor Julian Savulescu, Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University said Tom’s idea is one of two possible solutions to target doping.

“Somewhere between a third and two-thirds of athletes are probably using performance enhancing drugs,” he said.

“There’s two things you could do: one is create two separate leagues as you’ve suggested, another one is you could allow athletes to take safe levels of performance enhancing substances.

“The problem that you get is that if you’re not absolutely elite or the best, you’re going to want to move to the clean category and cheat, so you’re not going to eliminate the problem.”

Press PLAY below for more of what Tom Elliott had to say.

Press PLAY below to hear Professor Julian Savulescu on air.

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