Cheating: A Simplistic Commentary
Since the dawn of time, mankind has been looking for an easier way to do things. You want to trap a wooly mammoth? Dig a trench and camouflage it so you can trap the darned thing. Why chase it all over the place huffing and puffing when you can trap it like a fish in a barrel? Did you actually pick up all of your toys and clothes and put them away when you were a child, or are they still collecting dust under your bed? Even though you see the speed limit signs on the highway, you still feel the need to put the foot down on the accelerator to go five or ten mph faster than the law allows. HOV lane requires two people to use? Just put a hat and jacket on that favorite four foot stuffed animal and strap it into the front seat.
History is replete with these types of examples. Why do we do it? There are any number of reasons, but many of us seem to have some kind of 'gene' that helps push us into taking shortcuts. Deep inside of our warped ID some of us just don't want to put forth the full effort if we don't have to, or maybe we come to realize that we just hate losing. Without getting all psycho-analytical, perhaps we can never really know the motivations. But we sure can admit, many of us do it and maybe there is really nothing wrong with that, that is until it starts to affect other people.
He must have been cheating somehow
The problem is so pervasive, that the public seems to expect that anyone who is winning at a high level of competition must be cheating somehow. Lance Armstrong has trained harder than almost any athlete in the last few years. He's had to, after his near death battle with cancer that spread as far as his brain. He felt that he had been given a second chance, and so dedicated himself to excellence. He has now won three straight Tour De France races and has never once tested positive for any performing enhancing substance, legal or otherwise. Yet the media still attacks him like a pit bull frothing at the mouth.
When Mark McGwire broke the home run record last year, he was taking a legal performance enhancing substance aimed at helping him recover faster from his fairly frequent injuries so that he could stay in the lineup and help his team. The press was all over that one, until Sammy Sosa, who was taking no substances whatsoever, pursued the record at an equally impressive pace. Later tests would show that the substance McGwire was taking has no effect on strength or power, and the press let the matter drop. But the point had been made. If you are doing significantly better than others, people think you must be cheating.