Pigeon Racing Is Just as Corrupt as Any Other Sport

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A doping scandal rocked the hallowed sport of pigeon racing this week after six birds tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Yes, everything in that sentence was true. 

Scandal rocked the Belgian pigeon-racing world this week. According to multiple reports, alerted to us by The New York Times this morning, samples for 20 birds were sent to the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa this week. Six birds tested positive for banned substances: some birds were given a human pain killer, and at least one tested positive for cocaine. 

Don't think pigeon-racing is some punchline, either. In Belgium, huge amounts of money flows through the sport. Recently a Belgian racing pigeon named Bolt, after the Olympic sprinter, was sold for roughly $400,000, a record price for a single bird. The BBC reports pigeon racing has a dark underbelly, though: "Correspondents say that the riches and glamour connected with racing pigeons have brought many problems, including thefts from breeders and racketeering."

This isn't baseball, where Alex Rodriguez is still in a tense legal fight over his 214 game suspension for years of PED abuse. This isn't football, where players have nearly avoided PED suspensions because the testers are starstruck. This is pigeon racing, where the birds test positive for cocaine. 

The Times wrote some pigeon racing PED-scandal fan fiction in their report. See if you can spot every PED scandal reference. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.