Great dangers in sport excellence

We are aware of the depths into which the then young Gabriella Sabatini sunk when she was regarded as one of the brightest young stars on the tennis circuit. She bounced back several years later.

Hingis was a virtual child star who kept the tennis world spellbound through her teen years. When the game was lifted to another level she faltered and virtually left the game. Tennis aficionados everywhere hailed her recent return but on court she was only a shadow of her former self, offering only a few scattered reflections of her past talents.

The cocaine revelation has led to Hingis’ departure from tennis. She claims that she does not want to get into any long-running legal wrangling in efforts to prove her innocence.

What seems important to us here must be the fact that she does not appear to have an interest in having B sample opened and tested. She is well aware of the implications of the latter test being also positive. By turning her back on the game today through retirement she leaves without the rancour that is now plaguing Marion Jones and Fred Landis who would have been chased from their respective sports at the heights of their careers. Hingis also seems to hope that she will avoid the media scandals and the invasion of privacy into reasons why she may have turned to cocaine usage such that it could have been found in her system. She can continue to claim innocence.

Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor, easily the best high jumper in athletics history, faltered badly in his latter days of involvement in the sport. He tested for cocaine in his system and had to be penalised by the IAAF.

There is a belief that athletes who engage in sporting pursuits that involve pain are prone to utilise cocaine and marijuana to dull its effects on them while they compete.

In the case of marijuana usage it has been determined that its generally calming effects allows athletes in sporting disciplines that require a calm disposition – archery and shooting for example – to improve their overall performance.