By L. Behar
Any professional athlete will tell you about the pressure of the competition and the significance of a victory. When the clock is ticking, and it is a matter of seconds, athletes want to certify themselves that their name goes down in history representing groundbreaking records and inspirational moments. In such a highly competitive environment, many athletes cave into the pressures of the competition and take performance-enhancing drugs to guarantee their advantage over the adversary.
PED, or also known as performance-enhancing drugs, are substances used to enhance an athletic performance by generating a gain of muscle mass, increased respiration and among others. Mostly known as Doping, the consumption of PEDs is seen as unethical and prevents athletes to enter competitions such as the Olympics, World cup’s, the Tour de France, UFC, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. The use of PED is banned and if evidence of possible drug use is found from conducted tests, the athlete will be suspended from the sport until further notice.
Doping is not a new concept to the sports field; many known and famous athletes have doped in the past and many others might continue to in the near future. Athletes like: Maria Sharapova, Lance Armstrong, Luiza Galiulina, the Russian athletic team, Marion Jones, Ben Johnson and Sun Yang. The infamous story of Lance Armstrong is still one of the most shocking amongst the sports community. Armstrong won the Tour de France 7 consecutive times during 1998-2005, whilst fighting cancer. He was considered to be a great sportsman and admired by many. But the analysis of a urine sample that was taken after the Tour de France of 1998 displayed that he had been doping, a drug called EPO or Erythropoietin was identified. October 2012, the International Cycling Union stripped him of all Tour de France titles and banned him of participating. January 2013, he had confessed to doping and the use of anabolic steroids, shocking the cycling world.
Doping is a risk. Arguably there are more disadvantages than potential benefits. For men, the potential risks and side effects involve increased blood pressure, increased cardiovascular problems, depression, aggressive behaviour, acne, liver damage and baldness. For women many of the side effects and risks are alike: increased blood pressure, depression, aggressive behaviour, the growth of hair and liver damage. Studies show that the doping risks greatly outweigh the possible benefits. And still, many athletes are driven to take them because of the significance of a title or victory.
It is crucial for sports organisations to identify this unethical use of drugs and ban all of the athletes who won’t comply with the rule. Doping is a serious matter in the sports field and should be handled with a careful approach. Organisations should investigate new methods on how to identify PEDs more effective to prevent any further doping from occurring.