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Sochi: high altitude = the Viagra Olympics?

I'm not sure if this is news to you, but it's news to me, and big news at that: while we've been arguing about Russia's anti-homosexuality laws (and Brian Burke rather elouqently detailed why, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the "lifestlye" or "agenda" or whatthefuckeverelse your personal, political or religious beliefs guide you to believe, the Russians' laws that make as much as stating one's sexual preference in public equivalent to "spreading homosexual propaganda to minors" and now any sort of public demonstration, protest or "gathering" illegal are plain old *#$%@& up), and while TSN is promising to blanket Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp with over-analysis from Steve Yzerman's introductory presser at 5 PM on Sunday until the camp ends on Wednesday (you can be assured that the folks who aren't in Calgary will head to Arlington, VA to cover Team USA's 2-day orientation camp starting on Monday)...

A blurb from Sovetsky Sport's coverage of the Russians' two-day Olympic orientation camp, which kicked off on Friday and ends today on Sochi, Russia caught my eye.

Why?

In addition to being 20 minutes from the Georgian border, less than 200 miles from Grozny, Chechnya and being located on the Caucasus Isthmus with a good 25 distinct ethnic groups who really dislike each other, and in addition to the games' likely status as all but a military camp because of security issues...

And in addition to the fact that the Olympic facilities are far behind their construction schedules despite the supposedly-budgeted $12 billion construction projects long having since eclipsed $50 billion in costs thanks to one of the most corrupt governmental systems on the planet...

Sovetsky Sport inadvertently that the biggest factor for athletes' performances lie in Sochi's geographical location in a very different sense. Sochi is 2,320 meters above sea level, or 7,775 feet above sea level.

As such, and given that the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances includes anti-inflammatory medications (so NHL'ers who are headed to Sochi will have to avoid cortisone shots and most cold remedies) and all sorts of strange pseudo-steroidal and pseudo-ephedrine-based medications, players who are stiff, sore and may face trouble breathing have one medical alternative that was widely-prescribed for the Beijing Olympics due to air quality issues:

Viagra.

Viagra was initially developed to reduce pulmonary hypertension (which is a disease that makes respiration difficult and inefficient) and increase blood flow. It just happens to dilate veins, arteries and capillaries in certain parts of the body that need to rise to the occasion, and that's why its primary use is to treat male sexual dysfunction.

Mountain-climbers and folks suffering from altitude-sickness at high altitudes very regularly either take or are prescribed Viagra to improve performance and alleviate symptoms of illness, respectively, and many of the modern-day climbers of Mount Everest are powered by Viagra (among other things that one can take in what is a legal wasteland).

It's plain old effective at aiding and assisting with all sorts of respiratory and circulatory issues, and in an atmosphere where the Olympic credo is, "Faster, Higher, Stronger," and thousands of a second count in each and every sport, athletes who want to give their peak performance will be adding "Harder" to the list of superlatives.

Between you and me, I have the feeling that a significant chunk of NHL players' team doctors or personal physicians will find that their healthy and hale clients are suddenly, magically and mysteriously suffering from either hypertension or errectile dysfunction.

If you ain't cheating legally, you ain't trying, at least not in this sport, and in this case, I don't think that this is a bad thing. Some players will really be suffering from altitude-sickness, and this drug does its job.

As long as the playing field is even, it's not a PED as much as it is the one legal alleviation of inflammation of the respiratory tract for people who have altitude issues or even colds and flu bugs. So let it be the Viagra Olympics. And whatever side effects happen are the reason that the Olympic Village provides free condoms.

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Comments

squirrely's avatar

Looks like the equipment managers are going to have to redesign the jock straps to handle the “load”...

Posted by squirrely from Dirty Jersey on 08/24/13 at 09:43 AM ET

Chip4Pips's avatar

The restaurant where Team Russia was dining is 2320 meters above sea level. Sochi, Russia, itself is 65 meters (or 213 feet) above sea level, which is logical as it is on the Black Sea coast. The hockey arena/Olympic park is close to the coast. So maybe the elevation of the mountainous venues outside the city will change the drug testing regime, maybe it won’t.

Posted by Chip4Pips on 08/24/13 at 12:59 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Jeebus.  Who the fuch bribed the IOC to choose Sochi in the first place?

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/24/13 at 01:49 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Here in Los Alamos, we’ve got an outdoor rink at about 7,300’.  I’d like to invite Team USA to come train up here.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 08/25/13 at 01:31 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

I take Ibuprofen when I hike above 10,000 ft. Don’t know about any “performance enhancement” but it does seem to starve off any sickness that might come my way. Didn’t know that Viagra did the same thing, though on a more expensive bill.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 08/25/13 at 11:32 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

though on a more expensive bill.

Not according to the emails in my SPAM folder. smile

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 08/25/13 at 11:34 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I take Ibuprofen when I hike above 10,000 ft.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 08/25/13 at 11:32 PM ET

Have to do this hike one time.  Looks like a mean one.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/26/13 at 02:21 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

Have to do this hike one time.  Looks like a mean one.

Nice! Where is that?

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 08/26/13 at 10:54 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Nice! Where is that?

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 08/26/13 at 10:54 PM ET

The Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs.  Or just, “The Incline.”  I do a lot of rock scrambling at Red Rock Conservation and Valley of Fire here in Vegas and I heard about this incline from other hikers and scramblers.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/28/13 at 03:58 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Chip, the Sochi venues are so staggered along the coast that I have no clue whether the rink’s 50 feet above sea level or 6,000 feet above sea level. It all depends on the layout.

For anyone who’s interested, Joe Louis Arena’s about 520 feet above sea level. I’m at 940 here in South Lyon, so we vacillate from whatever’s higher than the great lake we’re nearest to, to…1,979 feet at “Mount Arvon” in the U.P.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/29/13 at 05:41 AM ET

SYF's avatar

For anyone who’s interested, Joe Louis Arena’s about 520 feet above sea level. I’m at 940 here in South Lyon, so we vacillate from whatever’s higher than the great lake we’re nearest to, to…1,979 feet at “Mount Arvon” in the U.P.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/29/13 at 05:41 AM ET

Heh.  Using McCarran Int’l. Airport as a point of reference, Las Vegas is just north of 2,100 ft above sea level.  Two and a half hours west of us is Death Valley at 282 feet BELOW sea level.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 08/29/13 at 07:55 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

The Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs.  Or just, “The Incline.”  I do a lot of rock scrambling at Red Rock Conservation and Valley of Fire here in Vegas and I heard about this incline from other hikers and scramblers.

Posted by SYF from minding the gap on 08/28/13 at 03:58 AM ET

I will definitely have to check that out this fall. Looks like a lot of fun.

As to the possible elevation challenge in Sochi, 6,000 ft isn’t all that bad for an elite professional athlete who is in midseason condition. I’m at 5950 and ran 8 miles the third day I was out here without any problems. Everybody is different though so maybe the viagra will work.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 08/30/13 at 12:06 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.