Regulating athletes' metabolism?

13 July 2008

Question

Can we not just monitor athletes to see how their metabolism is behaving and then regulate it so everyone has the same level?

Answer

We put this question to Professor Chris Cooper:

It's kind of like the athlete having a biometric passport that says they're all the same level and treating them like a formula one car. Something of the sort is used in cycling and in cross-country skiing where if you have too many red blood cells you can't compete because it's assumed it's unsafe. You might have a heart attack. You're not banned. Chris Smith - In reality someone's probably just banked a unit of blood a few months ago, built their blood back up and then re-infused it before the big race to boost their oxygen capacity before the big race?

Chris Cooper - Yeah, but if you set the level low enough then they will fail. That's the trick, to set it at a fair level.

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