Alt Text: Cleaning Up the Olympics, Genetic-Engineering Style

Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:12 am

Want to make the Olympics a true test of national abilities? Genetics is the answer. Image: Lore Sjberg/Wired

Once again the world bears witness as thousands of Olympic athletes convene to be tested as theyve never been tested before, and then if they pass the tests they get to compete in some sports.

A lot of them wont pass, of course, and will be sent home because of the growth hormone, radioactive spider venom or Y chromosomes found in their bloodstream.

But we can rest assured that the remaining athletes are completely free of illegal substances, right? Because bad guys always get caught, cheaters never win, and all the kittens in the whole wide world go to bed each night with full tummies.

The whole concept of doping is a weird one. Taking a young girl with athletic promise, severing her from any chance of a normal childhood, shipping her off to another country, training her day and night, then subjecting her to the sort of pressure that would crush a seafloor crab into mucus and shards thats normal.

Topping off with a little more testosterone than your genome saw fit to give you thats abhorrent.

However, Im not going to suggest that we just let people dope all they want, mostly because a couple hundred comedians have already trod that one into the tarmac. Instead, I have a plan to restore the Olympics to what they originally were: a chance for Greeks to run around naked. Wait, no, Im sure the Greeks can handle that one themselves.

Instead, lets turn the Olympics into a true test not of individuals, but of countries.

To begin with, Olympic athletes all start out with a completely unfair advantage over those of us who will never snatch, clean or jerk at a world-class level: genetics. Just like supermodels need to be born with the genetic code for high cheekbones and UNIX sysadmins need to be born with the genetic code for answering perfectly reasonable questions in a snotty tone of voice, an Olympic back-stroker must be born of ancestors who had to escape waterborne predators while keeping an eye out for flying predators.

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Alt Text: Cleaning Up the Olympics, Genetic-Engineering Style

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