Clean Cycling: Ethics

Burnished Medals

35“Not all means for going  faster…are equal…Some…undermine the meaning of the sport…not all ways of improving performance are the same.” Thomas H. Murray, PhD, Biomedical Ethicist, Cyclist 

Genuine or Cheater - you pick the engraving

Several years ago, I visited one of the halls of power in the sport of cycling. Cases of trophies, jerseys, and photographs of notable winners framed shelves of notebooks full of valuable training information. Gold medals dazzled the walls. My soul was hushed in deserving reverence by the grandeur of such a place: the privilege of elite athleticism.

Alongside an imposing conference table, I prayed specifically for cycling’s prosperity in my own country and worldwide, for its governing bodies, coaches, and riders, for new sponsorship and broader media awareness. I invited the presence of holiness, goodness, and purity to stake territory within and to inspire passion, safeguard cycling’s sanctity, and drive out evil in the form of relational or organizational conflict, unfair or inadequate resource allocation, and cheating through the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Awe filled my spirit about the implications of this prayer. I had a sense in its answer of impending change that may cause short-term chaos like a refining fire that separates dross from precious metals. We are now in just such a painful process of refinement. We are suffering as a Time Trialist after the turn-around. At such a time, we must look up as we struggle through with burning legs. Just as the warmth of polishing burnishes tarnish off prized metal, we must remember that reward and virtue ride in tandem and are forged along a road of discipline.

Cycling is ready for this removal of impurities from its noble purposes. Let us be tried in the fire so we can shine for the world.

Prayer for Ethics

“Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice.” 36Proverbs 25:4

We are thankful for the exposure of secret sins. This protects us from further wrong and prepares us for future glory. We ask blessing for those who are clean and for those who come clean. We ask strength to keep rules, justice for offenders, and endurance through this reordering and refining.

Ponder What purpose does cycling have for me, for others? What behaviors erode that meaning? Affirm I can contribute to society by fulfilling my specific purpose in cycling at whatever level my natural abilities take me. Watch with impure motivations removed, how satisfying it is to ride to your unique potential.

35“In Search of the Spirit of Sport,” by Thomas H. Murray, PhD, as posted on website of WADA as of December 2007. The Hastings Center is the world’s first research institution devoted to bioethics.

36The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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