Doping in sport is the use of drugs that enhance one’s performance. Most of these drugs are prohibited by various sports organizations and especially the international Olympic Committee which refer to the habit as unethical. Doping is basically prohibited in sports because of various reasons firstly; it poses health risks to the performer. Secondly, it denies other competitors equal chance to win and thirdly, it paints a very bad picture to the general public and again this might mislead the youth who tend to emulate these characters.
Participants who tests positive to these drugs are disqualified and prosecuted in a court of law as it is illegal. Some critics question the reason why disciplinary action is taken against those who test positive and yet some are taken for recreational reasons but what they do not know is that, off- field behaviors should not be extended to the field. What triggers athletes to use drugs and why is it inappropriate to use them? This is what this essay is going to delve into and shed more light to all issues that are related to doping.
As noted above, doping contravenes the sports and medical ethics because it is unfair method of competition and that is why it is often referred to as cheating. Doping could either be deliberate or not. This is because there are those who take the drugs deliberately to enhance their performance and there are those who tests positive as a result of having taken them on medical grounds. Some drugs that are taken for various illnesses contain some doping substances but it is unfortunate that the machines used to test cannot differentiate between the two types of drugs. (Woodland, L.
2005) Because of this reason, the participants who are on medication are asked to check the medicine they are taking before joining the competition. All the sports authorities are interested with is whether the athlete will test positive or not but they do not need to know how the drug got in the body. (BBC Online Health Section. 2000) Drugs for alleviating pain, symptoms and diseases have been use since the times of a Greek physician, Galen in 3rd BC. It is the same physician who noted and made it public that Greek athletes were using stimulating drugs to enhance their performance in competitions.
Though it was a drug, it was not of specific type but it was a special diet that was being taken by the ancient Greek athletes to boost their performance. For example the 668 BC’s Olympic Games winner was said to have used enhancement drugs but the truth was that he had taken a special diet made of dried figs. (Veroken, M. 18) According to Veroken, the same trend was witnessed among the Egyptians where athletes had to take a drink which was specially made before they could participate to enhance their performance. This drink was prepared by boiling asses’ hooves that had to be grounded.
Then they were placed in oil and flavored with rose hips and petals so that their performance would improve. Throughout the history, competitors have reportedly been said to have used various magic portions to enhance their performance in sports or, “ to enable them to compete under circumstances when otherwise it might not have been possible, such as injury or illness. ”(Mottram DR. , 18) These cases were rampant in the 19th century for example there was a case of Amsterdam canal competition where participants were reportedly said to have used stimulant drugs.
The same was reported among cyclists who used caffeine, strychnine, cocaine, alcohol, oxygen and ether. These substances were either used singularly or in combination. It is also during this period that the first death resulting from drug use in sports was reported. In 1968, a cyclist by the name Arthur Linton was reported to have used strychnine with the help of his coach although the claim that he died of this drug was watered down later by another one that claimed that he died because of typhoid.
The use of doping substances was not strictly limited to human beings as there were cases where it was also used on horses though the reason why it was used was the same but a law in 1903 was passed to outlaw its usage. However, it was only in 1920s that the Dangerous Drugs Act was passed and its goal was to address the issues of opium and cocaine. During the Second World War, amphetamine was used on soldiers so as to prevent fatigue but unfortunately, after the war the same drug started being used by athletes to enhance their performance.
What should be known is that these drugs do not always produce the intended results and it is for this reason that in 1960’s Olympics that were held in Rome Knud Jensen, a cyclist died on the very first day after the opening day immediately after he competed his 100 km cycling journey. This case expressed how drug usage in sports had become rampant but many cases went unnoticed. Today, doping in sports has taken another dimension and it is a bit sophisticated than it was in the past times as athletes use the latest technologies in their application.
“There are thousands of possible synthetic permutations of the testosterone molecule. The great majority of these steroids remain an unexplored frontier…private laboratories stand ready to synthesize any number of these steroids and keep the athletes ahead of the game. ” (Mottram DR, 20) It is very unfortunate that up to now, there has not yet been established any method of taking people at once or to differentiate between deliberate usage of drugs or on medical grounds.
The problem with these machines is that they only say you are either positive or negative irrespective of the circumstances under which the substance was taken. There are various reasons as to why doping substances in sports are banned. The first reason is on the understanding that those people who use stimulant substances before they could participate in games do have a competitive edge over others. They use unfair means to win and that is why this in sports is referred to as cheating.
All participants in a competition are supposed to be given equal opportunities to prove their potentials but when some individuals use irregular means to challenge their counterparts then, the spirit of fair and health competition is destroyed. No matter how the athlete performs the integrity, value and image of that sport is damaged beyond repair and for this reason doping in sports should be zero tolerated. The second reason why doping is prohibited is that it is against the law.
When doping substances are discovered to have been used, chances are that the outcome of the sport would be disreputed and mostly this goes hand in hand with chaos. Still another reason why drug use is allowed is that drug users who emerge winners in sports may be mistakenly be taken as role models by the young upcoming professionals and this might set a very bad precedent that would later prove to be rather difficult to change. (O’Leary J. 76)
The fourth reason why drugs and their methods of administering are not allowed is because some drugs that are taken through intravenous injections are very risky and may even result to death if proper care is not taken. Doping substances are associated with collapsing or even sudden death due to respiratory or cardiac arrest during the competition period and a case in hand is of Jenson, a cyclist who collapsed and died during the 1960’s Olympics in Rome immediately after he completed his 100km.
After a post mortem was carried out some traces of nocotinyinitrate and amphetamine were established in his blood. (Mottram D. R. , 19) Apart from these reasons, there are other effects that are not discovered immediately for example, the drugs could cause infertility in men, testicle shrinkage and reduction of sperm counts. They also cause prostrate enlargement and premature baldness. In women, hair grows on their bodies, their voice deepens and they experience abnormal menstrual cycles.
Enlargement of clitoris and the reduction of the breasts’ size occur. Also, children who are born by these people have stunted growth and the female ones experience premature puberty. (Department of Life Sciences, 1998) Most athletes feel pressurized to use enhancement drugs so that they could win in the respective competitions. Any athlete who is ill prepared to for the competition might be tempted to use drugs for example, in ancient Greece, the participants took mushrooms and other herbs so that they could win and become famous and wealthy (Watts D.
2007) The other reasons that make people to use drugs are the rewards that wait whoever emerges the winner. When one becomes the winner, he or she commands great respect and is greatly admired. This person is likely to be taken as role model by the youngsters. (Portfield J. 21) Other competitors are forced by their coaches to use them so that they would both benefit. Whenever an athlete emerges the winner in a certain competition, the coach has something to take home and that was why Arthur Linton, a cyclist died after he administered strychnine with the help of his coach.
Still the athletes feel obliged not to disappoint their fans who expect that the competitor must become the winner. Thus the competitor feels obliged not to disappoint them and could use whatever means to achieve this end. (Watts D. 2007, 36) According to Porterfield (49), though relentless fight on drugs in sports, doping critics hold that their researchers with continue up with doping substances that will be hard to detect and this will frustrate the efforts of anti dopists who have substantially tainted the public of participants.
Various organizations such as the International Anti Doping Arrangement (IADA) which was formed in 1995 by the governments of New Zealand, UK and Norway, aims at controlling doping in sports. This organization has continued to expand and currently Denmark, Sweden and Finland are part of it and it is projected that it will expand even further in the future. IADA in collaboration with other organizations like the International Standard for Doping Control (ISDC) aims at conducting seminars to educate the general public about the dangers of performance enhancement drugs in sports.
They also train organizations and countries on the anti doping programs. The organization on anti doping also aims at preventing the use of drugs in sports to set the benchmark for commonwealth’s future and to scale down the inadvertent doping cases by providing the relevant information concerning the CGF’s processes of drug testing. (Canadian Center for ethics in sports) For the success in the anti doping programs to be achieved, then a number of things will have to be accomplished.
First anti doping programs must put more effort to create awareness to those who haven’t yet been affected by the habit. Secondly, the sports authorities must be very strict on this and anyone discovered to have used drugs should forfeit all the rewards he/she was to get and then face the full force of the law or in other words there should be zero tolerance on doping. Again the machines used to test players should be modern so that it would be possible to differentiate between deliberate usage of drugs and accidental such as on medical grounds.
To conclude this essay, we can say that though a very tough fight has been waged against doping, the fight is still far from being won. Use of drugs as we have seen has established deep roots in sports as technology continues to become more sophisticated. Drug usage was for the first time reported in 3rd BC by a Greek physician but since the, the use of drugs has continued up to date. The fight has not yet been a success perhaps because there have not been established effective and efficient machines that would be used to test a large group of people for a short time.
The machines should also be able to distinguish between deliberate usage or otherwise. Bibliography. .BBC Online Health Section. Monday, 31 July, 2000. Doping: Banned substances.. .http://news. bbc. co. uk/sport2/hi/in_depth/2000/drugs_in_sport/859465. stm Canadian Center for ethics in sports. (CCES) Initiatives. International Anti-Doping Arrangement http://www. cces. ca/forms/index. cfm? dsp=template&act=view3&template_id=147 &lang=e Department of Life Sciences.
Doping and Sports: Collective Expert Assessment. Paris, 1998. http://www. cnrs. fr/cw/en/pres/compress/dopage/dopage2. html Mottram David R. 2005. Drugs in sport. Routledge. O’Leary John. 2001. Drugs and Doping in Sport: Socio-legal Perspectives. Routledge Cavedish Porterfield J. 2007 Doping: Athletes and Drugs. The Rosen Publishing Group. Woodland, L. 2005. This Island Race, Mouse hold Press, UK. Watts D. 2007. Pressure Groups. Edinburgh University Press.