lance armstrong looks set to win yet another tour de france. i know it's early, but to dominate the first climbing stage so thoroughly must be completely demoralizing to the field. it seems that this year there really isn't as much talk about the performance enhancing drugs as there has been in the past. perhaps it's because it is his last race that the european press is taking it easy on him.
you may recall that a few months ago, a former trainer implicated him in the use of steroids. of course, armstrong denies, says he's passed every test he's ever taken, blah blah blah. however, in this case, i say, if there's smoke there's fire. if there's anything we learned from balco it is that sports leagues and doping commissions are so far behind the curve when it comes to the development of performance enhancing drugs. who knows how long "the clear" had been in use before someone figured it out. who's to say that there isn't some crazy undetectable substance out there now? not to diminish armsstrong's case, but the idea that a whole country's press corps is out to get you, just doesn't make sense to me. quite frankly, armstrong has too much at stake to even risk losing a tour de france to not use performance enhancers. sorry no one's sense of fair play runs that deep.
it got me thinking of some other athletes who despite having never failed a drug test are probably dong something illegal, or at the very least against the spirit of the prohibition of performance enhancing drugs. here are three athletes who i am pretty sure are on the juice, but have been flying under the radar so far.
1) jason giambi - many of you may remember him for his famous non-apology from the beginning of the season. so recall, he kicked ass for a long time in oakland, went to the yankees and got injured a whole lot. lost a ton of weight when baseball got more aggressive about testing. he then sucked for the whole first two months of the season. in fact sucked so much that the yankees considered sending him down to the minor leagues to work stuff out. and now all of a sudden he's hitting home runs like he used to. i could put forth a conspiracy theory that baseball wants to use giambi as posterboy for the feel good steroids story. that is, here's a guy that pretty much everyone knew was on the juice, repented and now through his own hard work has regained the magic touch. i'm sorry, it's pretty clear that the reason he kicked ass in oakland was the juice, and now we're supposed to beleive that even without the juice he's this good?
2) ray lewis - i know that's he's always kinda been the best linebacker on the planet. it's not so much that he's all buffed out or anything, but if you notice, his head seems a little bigger than it should be. the thing that tips me off is the speed in comparison to his size. if there's one thing we know to be absolutely true, is that steroids can definitely make you faster (see ben johnson). you just don't get faster as you get older, no matter how hard you work. and my early recollection of lewis is that he wasn't as fast as is now.
3) steve nash - this one's a little tougher call. it's not obvious in that he's super buff or super fast. and even then, in basketball, with the nature of gameplay and the small dimension of the playing floor, it's hard to see those differences. he's always been the kind of player he is now. all i know is that in dallas, he wore down over the course of a season. there was never a season where he played full time and that didn't happen. and then all of sudden this year he's just as sprightly in the playoffs as he was when he was at UC santa clara? also, fredo and i have both noticed that his arms are definitely more defined and cut than they used to be. also, since his face has always kinda been goofy looking, it's hard to tell if there are any changes in those features as well.
for the record, some of the people who i think it is obvious that they are juiced but haven't been "officially" caught: barry bonds, sammy sosa, marion jones, and all NFL offensive and defensive lineman.
please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.