We say that one must be fair in sports, but how fair does one really play? ‘Doping’ refers to the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs by sportsmen. This is not a new culture but something which has its roots way back in history. In ancient Rome, chariot race became a really trendy sport, to get an edge the participants used to consume drinks made up of herbs which gave them extra strength. The usage of drugs and steroids is considered to be unethical by many organizations as it gives an upper hand to the player who has consumed it and a disadvantage for others. It is considered to be hampering with the ‘’spirit of sports’’. International Olympic Committee has been regulating the use of stimulants to avoid any health risks and inequality of opportunity for other players.
Narcotics used in sports give the participant a boost in their physical ability. It is observed that a participant under the influence has the ability of staying awake for a really long time, not feeling hungry or thirsty, avoiding fatigue etc. However, what is missed is that these drugs have a long term affect on the player’s body.
Many have reported to be facing problems such as dysfunctional liver, heart problems, breathing problems, acne, baldness, irregular menstrual cycle among women athletes. It can also lead to severe depression or addiction which might ruin the career of the player. Doping exists across sports and has recently cases have come out pointing at prevalence in sports such as cycling and baseball.
A question that many of us ask is: Why pop a pill to enhance performance and how does it work? As for the how, well, a stimulant mainly mixes with blood and reacts with nervous system to enhance mental function and lowers the sense of fatigue. For the why, well, we might never know but there was a research done by Bob Goldman which came to known as ‘Goldman’s dilemma’, where a question was put up to athletes asking them whether they would consume a drug which will make them win but will kill them within 5 years. Surprisingly half the athletes chose drugs over life. However, a recent research has led to the result of lower number of players choosing drugs over life. This can be attributed to the education of the athletes about the risks of doping and the stricter laws and also a development of a clear moral stance against doping that is being highlighted across all media.
There have been many cases where the players showed their inclination towards the use of steroids. In 1977, the shot-putter Ilona Slupianek, who weighed 93 kg, tested positive for anabolic steroids at the European Cup meeting in Helsinki. In 1998, the entire Festina team was excluded from the Tour de France following the discovery of a team car containing large amounts of various performance-enhancing drugs. Controversial athlete Floyd Landis, at the 2006 Tour of California, triggered a public scandal when caught doping to help his cycling. Even the cyclist Lance Armstrong’s use of drugs is now well documented.
The motto for fair play should be to avoid drugs and make all sport a level playing field for athletes to show excellence.