Microchips have worked for identifying dogs for years and now the talk of microchipping people is revving up ahead of the next Olympic games. Microchips that contain your medical information, credit card numbers, and identification, is a technology that many believe is in our future, but microchipping Olympic athletes to keep the games honest is an idea being tossed out there today.
World Olympians Association CEO Mike Miller paraded the idea of microchipping Olympic athletes out in front of a conference in London this week. With all the concerns about the athletes doping with the thought of giving that extra push to their performance in mind, Miller believes a microchip might be the answer to this dilemma, according to the Washington Post.
He told the audience at the Westminster Media Forum, which discussed the integrity in sports this week, that the same microchip technology that is available for dogs, might be able to keep an eye on the integrity of Olympian athletes. Miller said:
“Well, we’re a nation of dog lovers; we’re prepared to chip our dogs and it doesn’t seem to harm them, so why aren’t we prepared to chip ourselves?”
Miller admitted to the crowd that he is “no Steve Jobs” so microchip technology is beyond his scope of expertise. He did say that this technology may be available soon that would allow the anti-doping agencies to monitor athletes around the clock, before, during, and after the Olympic games.
This would do away with having to collect samples from the Olympians that are done periodically. It would no longer be a hit or miss type of testing. The chip would be a 24-hour a day monitoring system. According to The Telegraph, Miller added:
“I believe that, in order to stop doping, we need to chip our athletes where the latest technology is there.”
Miller may believe that this is the answer for keeping the doping problem in check for the 120,000 current and former Olympic athletes that his organization claims to represent, but it is a hard sell elsewhere.
The “right to privacy” was the biggest objection to this type of monitoring system for the athletes. Having samples collected is one thing, but this invasive procedure actually implants a device under the skin of an athlete, which is a problem. What if the athletes object to having this invasive procedure done? Miller’s idea of being hooked up to technology that actually monitors the athlete around the clock just didn’t sit well with the top brass of the anti-doping agencies in charge of monitoring the Olympic athletes.
Miller released a statement after backlash ensued following his microchip suggestion. Concerns popped up covering the multiple aspects of microchipping people including how you cannot force the athletes to be microchipped against their will. He said:
“People don’t have to join the club if they don’t want to follow the rules”
As the controversy over his idea started to bubble up, Miller released a statement about his concerns that his microchip suggestion was taken out of context. Miller said:
“It saddens me that such an important topic has been trivialized by taking out of context one comment among many made to foster debate on how best to strengthen trust in sport and drive the cheats out of sport.”
Miller’s suggestion was met with “fierce rebuttal from others in the industry,” according to the Washington Post. This includes United Kingdom Anti-Doping boss Nicole Sapstead, who released a statement regarding Miller’s chipping controversy. Sapstead said:
“There is a balance to be struck between a right to privacy versus demonstrating that you are clean. We would actively encourage more research in whether there are technologies in development that can assist anti-doping organizations in their endeavors.”
The organization where Miller presides as CEO, the World Olympian Association, released a statement making it clear where they stand with Miller’s microchipping suggestions. According to the London Glossy, Joel Bouzou, who is the organization’s president, attempted to distance the WOA from Miller’s comments in his statement. Bouzou said:
“Miller’s comments were of a personal nature, as Mike made clear, and do not represent WOA policy.”
While the professionals among the different avenues of the Olympics are not enthusiastic about this possibility, people in the general population are outraged. Comments on the Washington Post article suggest there’s not much enthusiasm for this technology when it comes to its use people.
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