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My Favorite Martin

By Tim M. Martin, Crimson Staff Writer

If I want to smoke marijuana, there are only a few human forces that will successfully deter me. The International Olympic Committee is not one of the forces that could stop me from enjoying a phat doobie if I decided to smoke one.

It's a noble ambition to "clean up the sport," and if anyone were going to be kicked out for misconduct, Gary Hall, Jr. would be one of my first picks. I was not overjoyed at his suspension for failing a drug test, however, because he tested positive for a non-performance enhancing substance.

The 1996 Olympic gold medallist in the sprint freestyle relays may not be the image the sport (or me personally) would like to put forward to the public, but there must be another way to make the sport more public-friendly than suspending swimmers for toking.

I am currently on the random drug list for competitive swimming's international governing body. I'm perfectly willing to tell them where I am every day of the year, the exact hours I will be competing and training several months in advance. Fine, making my training schedule available so I can be drug tested is a necessary evil that comes with modern athletics.

There certainly needs to be a limiting of performance-enhancing drug use within the sport. The IOC has absolutely no business, though, preaching moral standards to its athletes.

The IOC has no right telling swimmers what actions are immoral. Hello! Am I, or anyone in his right mind, going to shape my life around the rules set by an organization that buries itself in corruption?

Is accepting bribes morally correct?

Marijuana usage, in which I personally do not partake, is banned solely because of the IOC's perception that it creates moral decay within the sport. Does it in any way act as a performance-enhancing agent? Nope! All studies have concluded that it most certainly does not.

If it is not a performance-enhancing drug, what business does the IOC have in telling its athletes that they cannot enjoy it? Pretty soon they are going to be telling me I have to go to church every Sunday and wear a tie to competitions.

I completely understand the need for Harvard and the NCAA to ban such a substance. It certainly could hinder an athlete's ability to simultaneously be a successful student. They have a special interest in the athlete's success out of the pool that the IOC does not possess.

You may be saying to yourself: "Yeah, that's true, but marijuana is illegal." Is it illegal throughout the world, though? The poor Dutchmen (or athletes in any number of other nations) that want to be compete internationally cannot smoke pot, even though their society deems it a perfectly acceptable practice (if not acceptable, at least not illegal).

As I mentioned before, I am an advocate of ridding the sport of performance-enhancing drugs and I do not personally bow before the bong, but the fact that the IOC uses a valid concern about performance-enhancing drugs to dictate what lifestyles its athletes can lead is simply appalling.

The IOC is not the Pope, it does not function as a societal legislature, it is an organization with the sole purpose of making amateur athletics as fair as possible for the athletes. It serves solely as a protection of athletes from cheating.

If American swimmers want to smoke up, let them take their chances with local police forces and the NCAA, but don't have the IOC tell them how they spend their Saturday nights, please.

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