Cheating athletes and the fans who love them.

Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
Dec. 10 2004 12:03 PM

Cheating Athletes

Who dopes, why they dope, and who it hurts.

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There is a downside to testing, of course. Cycling has been in a state of constant scandal since 1998, and it's not clear that it will survive. In its year-end wrap-up, the magazine VeloNews dubbed 2004 the "Year of the Cheat." But that's only half right: It was the year that the cheats got caught, in stunning numbers. And some of them, refreshingly, had the good grace to come clean, à la Nina Kraft, the good German triathlete. Even David Millar, who was stripped of his world title and suspended for two years, seemed relieved to have been caught.

"I have a good lawyer in Paris and I might have got away with it," he said. "But I thought, 'Fuck this. I can't live with this.' "

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Corre ction, Dec. 13, 2004: This article originally stated that Jason Giambi's enhanced performance had won him an $82 million contract with the New York Yankees. The full seven-year contract was for $120 million, $38 million of which has already been paid to Giambi. (Return to corrected sentence.)

Bill Gifford has written for Outside, Wired, Men's Health, and other magazines. He is working on a book about the future of medicine.

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