USADA recently took a brave stance against something that has long been plaguing the world of track and field competition, casting a pall over the record books: cannabis. For decades it has been an open secret that puffing the reefer gave runners, hurdlers, and pole vaulters that extra edge when carbo-loading gas station burritos. Ever since Jerry Garcia won the pentathlon in the 1976 Montreal games, the green scourge has hung like the haze of Strawberry Cough over the sport’s credibility.
The weed problem in track and field dwarfed the PED epidemic in Major League Baseball. Even as eyes grew redder and giggles grew louder, those in authority ignored the problem like so many stoners have ignored the noodling guitar that bloats most Phish songs.
No longer! Sha’Carri Richardson, the current ringleader of the sport’s pot leafed pyramid, has been publicly shamed for illegally consuming the Devil’s lettuce in a state where it happens to be decriminalized. In the future, she will no doubt turn to a respectable vice, like mimosas or a 30 rack of Budweiser, America’s beer.
What most people may not know is that Mary Jane isn’t the only illicit lady uninvited to the Olympics. That’s why I am here to tell you the what and why of banned substances. We all know that ganja helps us run faster. But how many of these other no-nos do you know?
While banned across all sports, diving is what got this gateway candy the boot. In the late 90s, several would-be divers with fears of heights were using the sugar rush to help themselves climb the ladder.
Notable user: “Cavity” Carl Davies
For years Simone Biles knew that “these assholes can’t handle [her] shine.” Which led her to sneaking ankle weights into her leggings. While not illegal at the time, various rules committees sprang into action to ensure that Biles didn’t get an unfair advantage. The unintended consequence of this new rule was Biles damaging the roofs of several venues once she gracefully leapt through them. International gymnastics officials are debating whether there ought to be a rule banning athletes from being better than their opponents.
You may have heard that Norway’s women’s beach handball team are the most recent athletes to run afoul of this regulation. Thigh chafing is part of sport. Have you really won if you haven’t also overcome some uncomfortable chub rub? Simply put: no. That is why all Olympic athletes in all sports must wear the teeniest of bikinis, the briefest of briefs, which must be checked by officials with rulers. I, for one, am curious to see how Kevin Durant will adjust his game to these international rules in the basketball competition.
Marathoners, cyclists, and countless other participants of endurance competitions have long sought extra motivation when training. There is no better way to gain that extra rush of adrenaline than chasing a dragon. Sadly, many triathletes, such as Keith Richards, have faded into obscurity following the removal of this crutch.
Speed walkers are to blame for this. The consumption of large amounts of water prior to speed walking events is strictly regulated. Luckily, the pee-pee walk is largely absent from high level competition, and when viewers tune in they see only true fast walking.
Badminton, pickleball, and shuffleboard, once fringe sports, are now marquee events of the Summer Games. Getting to this point involved a long journey on a road paved with attrition. All competitors are required to be currently employed, not drawing from a pension or social security. These sports, once dominated by residents of Boca Raton, are now, truly, international.
Yogi Berra once said that “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.” That adage holds true for all athletic endeavors. The fear of failure, limitations of the mind, both learned and inherent, are the biggest barriers to success. The surest way to remove those barriers is to find a connection and oneness with the universe.
Mind expanding psychotropics allow athletes to truly understand that they are the universe, the universe is them. There is no difference between the track, the balance beam, the court, the field, and themselves. There is no difference between themselves and their competitors. They have simultaneously already won, will never win, and will always win. We are all first place and last place, because our atoms are vibrating together, against each other. You are both the reader and the author and the words of this article. And once you accept this, there is no failure. Be the ball. Be the javelin. You are the water in which you swim.
Anyway, once Dock Ellis threw his no hitter in 1970, the IOC swiftly banned all mind expanding substances, thereby condemning all Olympians to the prison of their minds.
So, while marijuana may have made the headlines most recently as a banned substance, it’s surely not the only show in town. The IOC has standards and rules, which you might be violating, right this very moment.