Why are steroids banned from sport?
November 02, 2020
Drug users are constantly trying to find ways to mask the use of illegal or banned substances. As their methods evolve, so do the techniques used by those trying to catch them. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are the top of the chain organisation when it comes to keeping sport clean, and they work closely with the likes of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and U.K Anti-Doping (UKAD).
The issue with doping
Drug use (or doping as it is more commonly known) is an ever increasing issue in sport. Recently, Usain Bolt completed his final sprint race before retirement. Unfortunately, the spotlight was stolen by Justin Gatlin. Gatlin was banned in 2001 after he was found with amphetamines in his sample, and later in 2006 after he tested positive for Testosterone. The 2-time doping cheat was booed by the London crowd as he finished in first place. I can’t be certain how Bolt feels about that, but it’s clear that the media and fans of the sport are not happy about it.
This is one of the reasons drugs are banned in sport. It’s unfair, unethical and really annoying. Just think about this for a minute. Let’s say you were patrolling the streets pretending to work for a charity asking people to make donations. You are essentially obtaining something you wouldn’t have had by using deception. So basically, you would be a fraud.
Well, unfortunately doping in sport isn’t too dissimilar. These athletes are fraudulently obtaining something that could be rightfully somebody else’s through deception. This is why people get so angry. In this very case, many are asking why Justin Gatlin was even allowed to compete. He was banned twice already! Athletes don’t just damage their own reputation when they dope; they can also tarnish the sport as a whole!
The dangers of doping
This seems obvious, but doping is also banned in sport because it’s dangerous to the competitors who use it. If for arguments sake we discuss sprinting again, there are many different drugs athletes could take to improve performance. Sprinters need to be strong with the ability to generate force. Therefore, they could use Stanozolol (Winstrol), Testosterone or Nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin) to name just a few. The problem here is that each of these steroids can induce very different negative side effects. Stanozolol could lead to liver damage, Nandrolone may lead to cardiovascular problems and Testosterone can lead to both an enlarged prostate and high blood pressure, for example.
It only takes one athlete to be using more than one drug, or two athletes using a different drug each to really increase the number of possible side effects waiting to happen. It’s important to remember that they are banned to protect the athletes, but at the end of the day the governing bodies of sport will have banned them to protect themselves from scrutiny as well.
The future of doping
Ultimately, and I’m sorry to say it, steroids are always going to have a place in sport. Athletes are always going to be prepared to risk it all for glory with the hope of never getting caught. As the prizes become bigger, so do the risks athletes take. To prove a point, soccer player Neymar recently made a historic move to PSG who bought him for £200 million! Wow.
Now, Neymar hasn’t taken any illegal substances but what if other athletes in soccer, or in fact any other sport, see what he has done as a blueprint for their own financial gain?
“If Neymar is worth £200 million then maybe I’ll be worth more if I get faster (winstrol) / Stronger (Testosterone) / Taller (Human Growth Hormone)?”.
Yes, It may not happen exactly like that but you can see my point….I hope. Where does this leave us? Do we allow athletes to compete in a dedicated event for enhanced athletes? I don’t know but I do know one thing; with the right coaching and science, natural athletes are becoming faster, stronger and more determined day by day which proves there’s no substitute for hard work.