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Drugs in sport

Drugs & Medication

Drugs in sport

Anabolic steroids

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Doping drugs on display at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland
Doping drugs on display at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland

In sports, doping refers to the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids, particularly those that are forbidden by the organizations that regulate competitions. Some doping substances, however, are permitted in low doses (alcohol and caffeine). Another form of doping is blood doping, either by blood transfusion or use of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO). Also considered "doping" by many is the use of substances that mask other forms of doping.

Currently, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and modafinil are causing controversy throughout the sporting world, with many high profile cases attracting major press coverage as prominent United States athletes have tested positive for these doping substances. Some athletes who were found to have used modafinil protested as the drug was not on the prohibited list at the time of their offence; however, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) maintains it is a substance related to those already banned, so the decisions stand. Modafinil was added to the list of prohibited substances on August 3, 2004, ten days before the start of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

In recent years, gene doping has been reported as being an emerging form of doping. Gene doping would be very difficult to detect and when used it will last for many years.

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Reaction from sports organizations

The International Amateur Athletic Federation, now the International Association of Athletics Federations, were the first international governing body of sport to take the situation seriously. In 1928 they banned participants from doping, but with little in the way of testing available they had to rely on the word of the athlete that they were clean.

It was not until 1966 that FIFA (soccer) and Union Cycliste Internationale (cycling) joined the IAAF in the fight against drugs, closely followed by the International Olympic Committee the following year.

Progression in pharmacology has always outstripped the ability of sports federations to implement rigorous testing procedures but since the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999 more and more athletes are being caught.

The first tests for athletes were at the 1966 European Championships and two years later the IOC implemented their first drug tests at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Anabolic steroids became prevalent during the 1970s and after a method of detection was found they were added to the IOC's prohibited substances list in 1976.

A handful of commentators maintain that as outright prevention of doping is an impossibility, and that all doping should be legalised. However, most disagree with this assertion, pointing out the harmful long-term effects of many doping agents. With doping legal, all competitive athletes would be compelled to use drugs, the net effect would be a level playing field but with widespread health consequences.

Another point of view is that doping could be legalized to some extent using a drug whitelist and medical counseling, such that medical safety is ensured, with all usage published. However, under such a system, it is likely that athletes would cheat by exceeding official limits to try to gain an advantage, policing such a system would be as difficult as policing a total ban on performance enhancing drugs.

Notable drug scandals and use in professional sport

The first recorded attempt to enhance performance occurred as early as the 8th century BC, when Ancient Greek Olympians ate sheep's testicles; today we would recognize these as a source of testosterone.

As early as the late 19th century professional cyclists were using substances like caffeine, cocaine and ether-coated sugar cubes to improve performance, reduce pain and delay fatigue.

In the 1904 Olympics, Thomas Hicks (USA) won the marathon at St. Louis and collapsed. It took hours to revive him; he had taken brandy mixed with strychnine to help him win his gold medal.

Nazi Germany athletes were rumored to use the first rudimentary testosterone preparations in the 1936 Summer Olympics.

World Weightlifting Championships of 1954 was the first unconfirmed testosterone injections by Soviet Athletes doping attempt ending in the Soviets winning the gold medal in most weight classes and breaking several world records.

In early 1960s Dr. John Ziegler (who was the US Team Coach in the 1954 Soviet-dominated World Weightlifting Championships) administered his weightlifters Dianabol tablets and the US dominated the 1962 World Championships.

In 1965 Dutch swimmers used stimulants.

During the 1967 Tour de France, Tom Simpson collapsed during the ascent of the Mont Ventoux. Despite mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the administration of oxygen, plus a helicopter airlift to a nearby hospital, Simpson died. Two tubes of amphetamines and a further empty tube were found in the rear pocket of his racing jersey.

A famous case of illicit drug use in a competition was Canadian Ben Johnson's victory in the 100 m at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He subsequently failed the drug test when stanozolol was found in his urine. He later admitted to using the steroid as well as Dianabol, Cypionate, Furazabol, and human growth hormone amongst other things. Carl Lewis was then promoted one place to take the Olympic gold title. Later it was revealed that he also had been using drugs.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many athletes from Eastern bloc nations were suspected to be augmenting their ability with some kind of pharmacological help. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, documents surfaced proving that the East German sport establishment had conducted systematic doping of virtually all of its world-class athletes.

In 1998 the entire Festina team were excluded from the Tour de France following the discovery of a team car containing large amounts of various performance-enhancing drugs. The team director later admitted that some of the cyclists were routinely given banned substances. Six other teams pulled out in protest including Dutch team TVM who left the tour still being questioned by the police. The Festina scandal overshadowed cyclist Marco Pantani's tour win, but he himself later failed a test. More recently David Millar, the 2003 World-Time Trial Champion, admitted using EPO, and was stripped of his title and suspended for two years. Still later, Roberto Heras was stripped of his victory in the 2005 Vuelta a España and suspended for two years after testing positive for EPO.

In July 2005, founders of California's Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and money laundering. Those implicated or accused in the ensuing scandal include athletes Dwain Chambers, C.J. Hunter, Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, baseball players Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, and several members of the Oakland Raiders.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics, Walter Mayer fled from the police when, acting on a tip, the Italian authorities conducted a surprise raid to search for evidence of doping.

The 2006 book Game of Shadows alleges extensive use of several types of steroids and growth hormone by baseball superstar Barry Bonds, and also names several other athletes as drug cheats.

In 2006, Spanish police arrested five people, including the sporting director of the Liberty Seguros cycling team, on charges of running a massive doping scheme involving most of the team and many other top cyclists. Several potential contenders in the 2006 Tour de France were forced to withdraw when they were linked to the scheme. For more details, see Operación Puerto doping case.

Less than a week after the 2006 Tour de France it was revealed that winner Floyd Landis had tested positive for an elevated testosterone/epitestosterone ratio (with normal levels of testosterone and deficient levels of epitestosterone) after his stunning stage 17 victory. Secondary tests have also confirmed the preliminary findings of deficient levels of epitestosterone resulting in a skewed T/E ratio, and a decision to strip him of the title is currently pending.

On July 29, another American champion failed a drug test - Olympic and world 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin.

In September 2006, Some former teammates of Cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to taking EPO during the 1999 Tour de France. While they did not state that Armstrong had done the same, the article printed did attack Armstrong, who throughout his carrer has been a target of doping alligations, mainly stemming from his recovery from cancer and eventually winning a record seven straight Tour de France titles.

For a full discussion on the collective bargaining clauses in the four major North American sports relating to steroids testing and detection, see "Illegal Muscle- A Comparative Analysis of Proposed Steroid Legislation and the Policies in Professional Sports' CBA's That Led to the Steroid Controversy. Paul A. Fortenberry and Brian E. Hoffman. 5 Va. Sports & Ent. L.J. 121 (2006)

MLB players accused of doping

  • José Canseco (admitted to use of steroids)
    Mark McGwire STL
    Juan Gonzalez CLE
    Mike Piazza SD
    Iván Rodríguez DET
    Miguel Tejada BAL
    Roger ClemensHOU
    Barry Bonds SF
    Sammy Sosa BAL
    Brett Barclay TOR
    Rafael Palmeiro BAL (tested positive for stanozolol)
    Andy Pettitte HOU
    Brian Roberts BAL
    Jay Gibbons BAL
    Jason Giambi NYY
    Ken Caminiti HOU (admitted to use of steroids)
    Curt Schilling BOS
    Dave Martinez
    Tony Saunders
    Wilson Alvarez
    Bret Boone
    Brady Anderson
    Jason Grimsley ARI (admitted to use of several performance-enhancers)
    Gary Sheffield NYY
    Jeremy Giambi

External links


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Drugs & Medication, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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