Cheaters: A Tale Of PEDs
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Cheaters: A Tale Of PEDs

The epidemic that's sweeping the sports world.

Cheaters: A Tale Of PEDs
40 Plus Career Guru

On this day in 1999, Lance Armstrong became the second American to win the Tour De France. While he would go on to become of the most successful cyclists the sport has ever seen, it was his fall from grace surrounding accusations of abusing performance enhancing drugs that Armstrong is remembered for today. Although an unfortunate turn of events, it is narrative we are watching play out all too often these days. From Jose Canseco’s tell-all book taking down baseball’s beloved Roger Clemens’ to Marion Jones and now the entire Russian Olympic team, it’s time to examine this epidemic.

While we often refer to performance enhancing drugs generically as steroids, there are actually multiple types of drugs that fall under this illegal grouping: anabolic steroids, stimulants, human growth hormones and supplements. Arguably the most notorious, anabolic steroids stimulate proteins, helping athletes to gain muscle and perform for longer periods of time. This strain of enhancers is responsible for bringing down some of the greats, most notoriously Barry Bonds and Bill Romanowski. Conversely, stimulants themselves do little for the body other than increasing an athlete’s energy level, allowing for longer practices and more vigorous training. While both steroids and stimulants provide undeniable benefits for athletes, human growth hormones (HGH) have not been concretely linked to any performance enhancements. Despite these less-than-assuring findings, many embark on the strict regime of prescriptions and injections that HGH requires in hopes of improved endurance and strength. Supplements, the last performance enhancing category, is often a confusing one, as supplements are generally taken to maintain good health. However, androstenedione, commonly referred to as “andro” and sold in many pharmacies, helps the body to process testosterone, resulting in greater energy, concentration and muscle mass. Regardless of their varying degrees and illegal status, these substances have had more than their 15 minutes of fame as they have continued to plague the world of professional athletes.

Although a household conversation these days, steroid use was not a common concern until 1976 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) became the first major association to ban the use of steroids by their participants. Despite setting the ball in motion and prompting other organizations like the National Football League and Major League Baseball to enact their own drug policies, the IOC has since faced enormous controversy as individual athletes, and now the entire Russian Olympic team, have been outed for their use of illegal substances.

As the news covers the Russian’s failed attempt to appeal the ban of 68 of their athletes from participating in next month’s Olympics, it’s crucial that the IOC not only stand firm in their suspension, but also consider the significance of this scandal. The team’s drug use came to light in 2015 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) produced a report that unearthed state-sponsored doping for all of the country’s professional athletes. The report went on to state that Russia’s, “Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping.” This means that the 33 medals that Russia won two years ago at the Sochi Winter Olympics may in fact have been illegally won. In light of this news, it is apparent that, despite the IOC setting the standard for performance enhancing drug policies, they must take a hard look at their application and reassess their tactics for policing their standards.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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