I missed this story last week on Golfweek:
Is nicotine a performance-enhancing drug? That is what the World Anti-Doping Agency is trying to answer by adding the drug to its 2012 monitoring list, and the PGA Tour is paying attention.
The WADA has taken initial steps toward classifying nicotine as a performance-enhancing drug, citing a report from its laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, that details alarming evidence of tobacco use by athletes in 43 sports.
“It is not WADA’s intention to target smokers, rather to monitor the effects nicotine can have on performance when taken in oral tobacco products such as snus,” Terence O’Rorke, a spokesman for the WADA, wrote to Golfweek in an email. “The sole purpose (of including nicotine on the monitoring list) is to collect data on the potential abuse of nicotine as a performance enhancer.”
I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry. With all the problems the Olympic sporting world has with doping, I can’t imagine they have time to crack down on tobacco users. Maybe they figure it’ll be easier to catch the guys who are lighting up or taking a chaw than it is to find the ones who are masking HGH.
It also occurs to me that smoking is a detriment, not an aid. Smokers don’t have the wind of non-smokers. And I’ve seen what happens to the putting stroke when my cigarette addicted friends haven’t had a cancer stick in a while. If you can maintain a top athletic performance with all of the dangers cigarettes and chew pose, then more power to you.
To be honest, though, I lost interest in the Olympics a couple of decades ago. The collapse of the Soviet Bloc, with all the ensuing ideological rivalries made it less interesting to me. There will never be another Lake Placid hockey moment. I also can’t stand the “judged” Olympic “sports”: synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, freestyle skiing, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, et. al. In my mind, if there is not an objective score or time, it’s not a sport.