Friday, January 7, 2011

It's all entertainment, or is it?

One thing we often hear is that athletes are role models for our kids. And as such they need to behave in proper fashion. Presumably that means "to behave differently" from actual role models such as movie stars, stage performers, and musicians. When is the last time Hollywood did a drug test on its actors? And wouldn't it be great to read that Sylvester Stallone was banned from movie making for two years for using growth hormone? Or steroids?

Sorry Rambo, that is a two year ban for you.

Or how about suspending a bona fide hero who was eager to drop his multi-million career to go fight in Iraq?

Bring it on fellas

Would you be surprised if you read that the Recording Industry of America, known as the RIAA was going to institute whereabouts rules for its artists (instead of slapping lawsuits onto kids who download a few songs?) 

Not a good role model

Apparently the use of performance enhancing substances is not limited to popular musicians. Opera stars too feel the pressure as this Times of London article illustrates. I am told the use of beta blockers is rampant among stage performers. Now there is something WADA should look into. Why is it OK to take a beta blocker before a piano concerto or a violin performance, but not in bobsleigh, golf, or curling?

Steady hands or propranolol?

Meanwhile we read in Het Nederlands Algemeen Dagblad that organizer Frank Boelé is considering pulling Keisse, who is now in the officially-not-recognized number three spot in Rotterdam, if only UCI would agree to pay the legally imposed fine of 50,000 Euro per day. I am sure the spectators are thrilled to hear that.

I see a solution here that could make all parties happy. The sporting world could hang on to its image of sanctity and purity. They could continue their big brother monitoring of athletes every minute of every day and night. I would recommend officials take a look at the new Garmin GTU-10 that was presented yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

In the meantime, we could start a new form of entertainment that is governed by the rules of the entertainment industry, which means bad behavior is not only condoned but expected. These shows will have the added benefit of providing help to one of our most distressed cities, America's foreclosure capital Las Vegas. As the Economist pointed out recently the city is in trouble and at least part of Vegas' trouble is existential, that is to say, very hard to fix unless some new forms of entertainment can be brought in. A special form of no holds barred track racing could be just what Las Vegas needs.

Watch out Vegas, here comes Iljo.

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