Its only a few days to the start of the Olympics in Beijing and it could be said that these Olympics will be the dirtiest.
The city itself has been locked in smog filled days and only the intervention of officials may enable the days to be clear. Cars will be banned from roads, factories will be shut and clouds will be artificially manipulated to make it rain to wash away the smog.
Is this an indictment on what the earth is turning into? What happens once the Olympics are over? The pollution will return and increase (to make up for lost time and to cater for stronger demand for Chinas goods) and spread its tentacles not only over Beijing but over the world. This is not a China problem - this is a world problem and will have dire repercussions over the coming decades.
The Olympians will be fighting dirty drugs too. Not only will they be fighting the chemicals they will be breathing in each day but many will be unfairly fighting their drug taking opponents. The drug takers will win. Any clean gold medalist will have well and truly earned their victory.
Whilst there is so much money involved in the Olympics and the monetary rewards that go with success, there will be corruption (by athletes and officials), cheating and performance enhancing drug consumption.
The rewards are great (it has been reported that Ben Johnson made over $100 million after his 100m gold medal – later stripped from him). There are people who would cut off their arms for the money involved (and the prestige), so drug taking is a minor inconvenience.
Part of a documentary has been shown recently showing how performing enhancing drugs are readily available in Beijing chemists and hospitals – to a man posing as an athlete.
Again this is not a China problem but a world problem that is impossible to defeat. The drug takers are always one or two steps ahead of the testers – there is more money in creating these drugs than finding tests to counter them.
Don’t be surprised if China wins a few medals that will also surprise commentators ( and their opponents) – the stakes are very high for the Chinese this year.
Who are drug cheaters and who are not? That is the dilemma we spectators face each time we see an outstanding performance – we don’t know until it’s too late, if at all.
The Olympics - "Swifter, Higher, Stronger". More probably the drugs must work swiftly, the drugs must make me feel good (on a high), the drugs must make me stronger than my opponents.
Good luck to all the clean athletes – no matter how few there may be – my thoughts are with you!