A survey was presented to 198 U.S athletes with the following scenario. You are offered a banned performance enhancing substance that comes with two guarantees: 1) You will not be caught. 2). You will win every competition you enter for the next five years and then you will die from the side effects of the substance. Would you take it? More than half the athletes said yes. As we can infer from the above survey, a large number of professional athletes are willing to risk their lives for the chance of victory and recognition.
The controversy of doping in sports is centered on the use of drugs to increase speed, strength, intensity and endurance. Various sports regulating bodies such as the International Olympic Committee have banned certain performance-enhancing substances because of safety and fair play issues. However, many athletes feel that they have to use steroids to be competitive in the international sporting arena. Athletes believe that everyone else is using these products, and thus anyone who does not use steroids is putting himself or herself at a disadvantage. This dichotomy between athletes and regulating bodies represents the major controversy around doping. The doping problem is further complicated by lack of a consistent definition.
This practice of using substances to boost athletic performance is not a new phenomenon. The use of external substances to boost athletic performance dates back to the Greeks who used herbs and seeds to enhance performance (Haji 54). The most popular drug choices today are anabolic steroids, which make athletes bigger, stronger and faster. Anabolic steroids are a group of compounds related to the male hormone testosterone, which promote increases in muscle bulk and strength (Eitzen 64). Athletes from all over the world are using these drugs. East Germans athletes gained great notoriety by extensively using anabolic steroids during the seventies and eighties. Many Chinese athletes have been disqualified for illegal drug use. Similarly, a number of U.S athletes have admitted to using these drugs. Steroids have been found in athletes engaged in a variety of sports, including swimmers, golfers, baseball players, boxers, hockey players, and body builders (Burnsytn 234).
Anabolic steroids have been proven to have serious adverse health effects. Researchers have linked extensive use of these drugs to liver damage, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Anabolic steroids cause testicular atrophy and breast enlargement in males and menstrual cycle difficulties and body-hair growth in women. In addition, athletes who use anabolic steroids may exhibit aggressive behavior, mood swings, and explosive tempers (Etzen 64).
Besides the concern about safety, the doping controversy is centered on the issue of fair play. Opponents argue that athletes who use performance-enhancing substances have an unfair advantage. Many athletes choose to train and compete with nothing...