Ask yourself: what will be going through your mind as the men line up for the 100m final in two weeks time? As the cameras flash, there will be a sense of excitement at the sheer occasion, the spectacle of the flagship event. But there will also be a nagging sense of doubt as we wonder not if, but how many of the finalists have managed to evade the testers and run with the benefit of performance enhancing drugs.
Simon Barnes has written a thoughtful article in The Times today promoting the idea that we just stop testing for drugs and let the athletes get on with it. He wonders why it is that we are opposed to the idea of drugs in sport in the first place and it is worth stopping and asking yourself the same question. Barnes posits the following suggestions: that we are just squeamish about the thought of injecting drugs into our bodies; that drugs are dangerous; they they are immoral; that a user is putting their own interests ahead of their nation or some other higher ideal.
I would say that it is all of these things and more. Gaining an advantage via the administering of non-natural substances goes against our innate sense of fairness. We want our sporting contests to be on a level playing field and if someone tilts the balance they are labelled cheats and pilloried as a result.
But who decides what is acceptable and what is not? Is it OK, for example, to train at high altitude? Is it OK to shave your head to be more streamlined in the pool? To wear performance enhancing kit like Speedo's new Lazer swimsuit? Get corrective laser eye surgery to improve your natural vision?
Perhaps we will look back one day and laugh, as Simon Barnes suggests, at today's objection to performance enhancing drugs as quaint. The advent of unidentifiable genetic tampering in sport may make these kind of ethical choices redundant fairly soon anyway, if it has not already begun. This will force us to consider wider questions such as why might it be OK to tamper with genes to eradicate certain hereditary illnesses but not to select the sex of a child?
So, I for one will be watching these Olympics through cynical eyes. One by one, the main sports, athletics, swimming, cycling and others, have fallen under the siren call of doping, their records discredited and champions cast into the sporting wilderness. The 100m final may be clean of drugs this year but, to my mind, that is just the same as being undetected.