Failure is one
factor that is not accepted by human nature openly. The urge to win and be
satisfied has pushed some to seek help from modern science and find shortcuts
to enhance performance and fulfill desires. The best example can be seen in the
sports and athletics today. Most serious athletes will tell you the pressure
and competitive drive to win can be fierce. More so in international games
where athletes want to pursue the dream of winning a medal for their country in
the prestigious games and athletic events and secure a spot in the professional
team. This desire leads them to take help from modern medicine to artificially
boost their stamina and enhance their performance. In an environment like this,
sportspersons often take help from performance-enhancing drugs.
Taking drugs to
enhance performance, doping comes with many risks. If you learn about the pros
and cons about the performance-enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids, human
growth hormone, Creatine and stimulants, you may decide that the risks aren't
worth the benefits at all.
What are these
performance-enhancing drugs and why exactly do sportspersons take them? Drugs
like anabolic-androgenic steroids,
often referred as steroids are taken to grow more muscles. Diuretics such as drug Acetazolamide dilute urine to make
the athlete lose weight. This helps athletes to compete in lower weight class.
Creatine is used to give an added boost of energy. The most widely used drug is
androstenedione, which increases the
level of testosterone in the blood, which increases the heart rate and
decreases fatigue. Even after knowing the risks involved in taking such
drugs, athletes decide to risk their lives and opt for them. The side effects of using steroids are bald
patches on the head, severe acne, increased amount of lipoproteins in the
blood, hypertension, heart and circulatory problems, masculine and
manly-features in women, deepening of voice and in case of prolonged use it
leads to death.
The first sportsperson
identified using drugs to enhance athletic performance was Thomas Hicks, the
winner of the 1904 Olympics Marathon. After this victory, death of few athletes
was seen due to overdose of steroids. Rumors about doping and death started
hovering in the Olympics Games and other international sports and games.
The Olympic Committee
decided to act against it and banned the use of drugs in the Olympic and Winter
Games. But it wasn't easy to detect the doped athletes in the games. This led
to the formation of an independent organization called World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) in 1999. WADA developed a list of drugs forbidden in the Olympics and
other athletic events. They established labs to check and detect the presence
of these drugs in the blood and urine of sportspersons.
WADA has helped to filter
the participants and prevent the doped players from winning in an unethical or
Since establishment of WADA, there have been
many cases where the athletes were dismissed from the games and were banned for
a few years from participating in any other games. But controversies about
doping in athletics have not ended yet. According to statistics, doping in the
Summer Olympics (0.49%) have nearly doubled the percentage of the Winter
Olympics (0.28%). Weightlifting is the most doped sport in Olympics with up to
40 reported violations of the anti-doping rules.
As the days of
the London Olympic games are coming closer, WADA is preparing best with strict
ways to detect performance-enhancing drugs in an athlete's body. This time,
WADA has established the most enhanced lab techniques against doping. Professor
David Cowan, Director of King's College, London's Drug Control Center and chief
scientist for the London Games claims that trying to get past WADA's hi-tech
labs would be a total waste of time for athletes trying to cheat.
With London Olympics round the corner, WADA has taken
steps to assure that there would be a clean and healthy competition this year.
Sport officials and sports fans are also hoping new athletes will depend more
on themselves and not be tempted to depend on drugs for their success in