Move over Jose Canseco, there’s a new drug scandal in town: the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. One balked up Balto coming up. While it isn’t the common steriods that you are used to hearing about, it could be a sign of other sports being affected.
For the first time ever in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race, several dogs of a unidentified musher’s (the human responsible for driving) team tested positive for a prescription strength opioid pain reliever and is considered a performance enhancing drug or P.E.D.
What is the Iditarod?
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is a grueling 1000 mile long race from Anchorage to Nome, and which takes place entirely in the US state of Alaska. It is ran by one human, called a musher, and 16 of the finest specimens of K9’s available. The race began testing the top twenty finishing teams for prohibited substances in 1994, and testing in Nome is to be expected for top finishers.
While the medicine could have been administered up to 15 hours before the test was administered, it still is unclear what the intent was behind the doping.
Why Would it Matter if the Dogs were Doped?
Doping is a hot button issue in any sport, but the Iditarod is carefully monitored. So closely that food for the teams is flown up two weeks ahead of time to designated checkpoints.
While there is some suspicion that another musher could have given the dogs the P.E.D., it would be unclear what the motivation behind the action. The painkiller could have been used for the dogs to push through some of the dangerous obstacles that the teams have to push through, giving them an unfair advantage over other competitors.
According to Iditarod board member and musher Aaron Burmeister, there have been no previous incidents of anything of the sort happening in the race before.
The musher, identifying himself only as X, penned a seven paragraph letter to all mushers in an attempt to clear his name, naming “Head Veterinarian and Race Marshall suspected either an accident or possibly foul play in the Nome dog lot or food bags.” No action will be taken as of yet, according to the Iditarod Committee.
Not the Only Scandal for the Race
One might be amazed at the depths of depravity that the Iditarod Trail Sled race inspires. Musher Jason Mackey was charged in the theft of dogs from another musher.