When a sport is partly about the technology being used, a technology arms race is not necessarily a bad thing. The America's Cup is of interest as much for the engineering of the yachts as for the skill of the sailors. The same is true of Formula One auto racing and, to a lesser extent, the Tour de France cycling race. The technology arms races in these sports are arguably virtuous. But when, as in swimming, the arms race leads to the pursuit of a new technology that does not contribute to the sport and leaves everyone worse off, the arms race is vicious.
[ Editor's Note: Chryste Gaines, MBA, Olympic gold and bronze medal sprinter and former teammate of Marion Jones in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, stated the following in a Dec. 22, 2008 email to in response to the IOC ruling:
"We are being unfairly punished. If the drug testing agencies cannot determine if an athlete is taking performance enhancing drugs how are the teammates supposed to know?... It negates all the family functions, church functions, and social events we missed in the name of winning an Olympic medal." ]
Some of the approved drugs are synthetic versions of the natural hormones, such as trenbolone acetate and zeranol. Just like the natural hormone implants, before FDA approved these drugs, FDA required information and/or toxicological testing in laboratory animals to determine safe levels in the animal products that we eat (edible tissues). Furthermore, FDA required that the manufacturers demonstrate that the amount of hormone left in each edible tissue after treatment is below the appropriate safe level. As described above, a safe level is a level which would be expected to have no harmful effect in humans.