Commentary on painkillers in sports: wrong models

It would be exciting for a professional cyclist to speak as openly about his pain at the approaching Tour de France as tennis player Rafael Nadal did in Paris. Something like: “That damned torture on the Galibier, Croix de Fer for Alpe d’Huez, how my head was pulsing from the miserable climb, the sun. Then the Dutch, celebrating their seventh turn, in the middle of the cemetery it’s possible when the team doctor injects you with these Stuff every day making your legs and head go numb.” What disdain and ridicule that will spill onto bike pharmacies, junkies on two wheels.

And Nadal? He laughed when asked how many injections he received during the Roland Garros Grand Slam. He said he’d rather keep that to himself. He later admitted that an anesthetic was injected into his nerves before each match by the moderator, which was the only reason his bad foot made it through the tournament. In other words: His 14th victory at the French Open is an unprecedented record.

Of course, professional cyclists and fellow cyclists from other departments don’t have to preach from the moral pulpit as much, as some have recently. Studies and reports have made it sufficiently clear that high performers like Nadal, through the injection rounds, welcome them at best from the heyday of a culture where whatever drives muscle strength is always taken. It starts with lists of supplements that are as long as a coupon for their weekly shopping, and extends to athletes who swallow ibuprofen like the smart ones to search for a drug for cancer patients who end up in top-tier sports because the substance is not (yet) in the steroids index on the market.

Athletes rarely put themselves on the cannula voluntarily

It’s indisputable that what Nadal does is basically spilled in the sanctioned area (even if he doesn’t do anything prohibited by the regulations). In the end, it’s also about pumping up performance dramatically by feeding the body medication, over and over again. It is also insufficient to point out that adults are self-destructive in the process: only because top-tier sport benefits from public funds around the world; About a policy that preserves Federal Competitive Athletes, who should be role models for the next generation. A sport that freely handles injections and pills can at best be a circus, with a warning notice like a daring show Donkey: “Children, don’t try this at home!”

Very few athletes gladly put themselves on the cannula – but that’s only because only then a major hit emerges, the sponsor pays, and the media rejoices at how the champ walked heroically through a sea of ​​pain; Because the new professional only has a chance to compete after sacrificing his youth for his sport; The veteran once again showered with a warm shiver of affection in the fall of his career. Decoding such a braid takes a very long time.

A quick break would probably provide a media and sporting medium that also respected hitters. For those who give up in the second round of Roland Garros, who say: I can’t do that. Who talk openly about panic attacks and pressure to succeed. Those, like Belgian Cian Uijtdebroeks, were amazed once they stepped into the professional part of their sport and threw three grams of paracetamol to their teammates there just to take the pain. “I have no intention of sacrificing my long-term health for the sake of short-term success,” Uijtdebroek said recently, even if others were quicker at the time.

The 19-year-old, who incidentally rides for Germany’s Bora-Hansgrohe team, is considered one of the greatest talents in cycling.

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