As you responded to me, I accept your invitation to continue this fruitful discussion.
Maybe. Maybe you're right and drugs are the only factor, far above genetics, environment, altitude, culture, tactics, national pride, maturity of the sport, and financial incentives.
You asked me to think. Here's what I thought in the first two posts:
- There are lots of examples of East and North Africans running really fast in the EPO-era, with some, like Ramzi, and Boulami, and busted for EPO.
- But what about non-Africans, many from countries much richer than Kenya and Ethiopia, who could have used Asterix's magic potion to catch East and North Africans?
- EPO was virtually a non-factor for non-Africans with respect to the fastest performances, not only when compared their East and North African contemporaneous competitors, but also when compared to their 1980s predecessors.
- Until 2010, after the ABP cracked down hard on EPO, a handful of Americans started running faster.
This did generate some fruitful discussion -- arguably the main goal of a discussion forum:
- Some speculated these poor improvements were due to lower interest -- non-Africans just didn't want to run fast anymore.
- Pretty much all of the best non-Africans, world wide, at the same time, just lacked enough interest to take EPO to close the widening gap.
- Or stricter testing forced them to take smaller doses, even when there was no test.
- Or stricter testing for steroids hindered their ability to synergize with steroids.
- Only second class runners, like the Spanish, and Lombard, took EPO to help them run 1980s times.
- Or masters like Hellebuyck, running near his PB, and amateurs like Hesch, who took 2 years to run faster.
While I'm thinking, here's a thought. Where did the fast times go? Did they disappear, or just move?
Maybe if lower interest caused non-Africans to run slow in the EPO-era, then lower interest also caused the fast performers to leave the track, and go to the roads.
We know that the money dried up on the tracks -- I guess the public wasn't interested in paying to watch East Africans win everything.
What if we look at what happened on the roads:
10km road all time best set in 2010
15km road all time best set in 2010
10 miles road all time best set in 2005 (Komon 3 seconds short in 2011)
20km and half marathon all time bests set in 2010
30km road all time best set in 2016 (top 34 performances after 2010)
Marathon all time best set in 2014 (top 16 performances after 2010)
Try to think wrote:
If it makes the best athletes better, presumably something can be observed in these measures.
Of course something can be observed. People haven't done any really fast track running since they cracked down on EPO.