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Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports

In the world of sports there is much competition. There is so much that many sport players try to cheat their way through by using performance enhancing drugs. The players use steroids, human growth hormones and many more. All performance enhancing drugs should be banned from sports.

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The history of performance enhancing drugs goes back to the 1800s. There were two reported cases before the 1900s. The first known use was by a 24 year old cyclist named Arthur Linton in 1886. He died in a race from Bordeaux to Paris. The cause of death was said to be Typhoid Fever but he was believed to have taken trimethly which is a stimulant. The second known case happened in 1889. A French physician, Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard, extracted testicular fluid from dogs and guinea pigs and injected himself. At a scientific meeting in Paris he announced his findings saying that it made him feel younger and have more energy.

In 1935 German scientists, led by Adolf Butenandt, developed the anabolic steroid. Between 1940 and 1945 the Nazis began testing the steroids on humans. They used prisoners, Gestapos, and Adolf Hitler himself. They found that it causes aggression and with enough use it causes people to go crazy.

In 1954, the United States was given Performance- Enhancing drugs. When the Russians began to become good at powerlifting, a Soviet team doctor revealed his team’s use of testosterone injections to an American weightlifting doctor named John Ziegler. Ziegler then began to work on creating a refined synthesis that would produce a compound with muscle-building benefits of testosterone but without bad side effects such as a prostate enlargement.

The drug he created, called Methandrostenolone, was released by Ciba Pharmaceuticals under the name Dianabol.

In 1973, the German women’s swim team won 10 out of 14 gold medals in the inaugural swimming world championships in Belgrade. As a result, the Olympic committee in 1975 put anabolic steroids on a list of banned substances from the Olympics. Also, on the list, at that time, were any kinds of stimulants.

In 1983, the governing body of Pan Am stripped 3 gold medals from American weightlifter Jeff Michels and they took gold medals from 3 other Latin Americans for testing positive of anabolic steroids. Thirteen other members of the American track and field team withdrew from the Olympics. Overall 23 medals were taken, 11 of them being gold.

In 1988, sprinter Ben Johnson smashed the one hundred meter time by .14 seconds with a time of 9.79 seconds. He was then tested for anabolic steroids. He tested positive and his world record was deleted from the record books.

In 1990 the government stepped in and Congress passed the Anabolic Steroid Control Act which classifies steroids as a Schedule III controlled substance. This means that the trafficking of Anabolic Steroids is no longer a misdemeanor but a felony.

In 2000, Urinalysis tests are improved to detect EPO (erythropoietin). At this time though, blood doping was still undetectable. There are many dangerous risks around blood doping which consist of blood clots, strokes, and thrombosis.

After retiring from baseball in 2002, Kem Caminiti admitted that he used steroids in his 1996 National League Most Valuable Player award winning season. He is quoted saying “I have made a ton of mistakes. I don’t think using steroids is one of them.” In 2004 he died of a heart attack. He was only 41 years old.(Sports Illustrated)

The most recent major case of steroid usage is with Barry Bonds. He was an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants and was first accused of using steroids in 2003 but denied ever using any. The government accused him when they went to his trainer’s house and took papers saying that Bonds had been using an undetectable steroid. He was found guilty on obstruction of justice on April 13, 2011

Performance enhancing drugs should not be used in any sports. They can be harmful to the human body, gives players an unfair advantage, and it does not show true skill.

Many athletes, because of their drive to win, take too high a dose of Performance-Enhancing Drugs causing a high health risk. Both men and women can get bad side effects from them such as an increased risk of tendonitis, liver abnormalities and tumors, hypertension, heart and circulatory problems, prostate gland enlargement, aggressive behaviors, psychiatric disorders, and inhibited growth and development. Many of these are life threatening.

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Taking these drugs could be considered cheating as well. While there may be many players in sports taking Performance-Enhancing Drugs, there are still many who do not. For the ones who do not use them they put in hours and hours of hard work to get stronger for the sport they play. Athletes that do take them get the same effect in a much shorter time frame and many of the drugs they take gives them more energy to work out harder and longer.

They also do not show the true skills a player may possess. For example, if a baseball hitter is a weak hitter but then takes steroids and works out while he is on them and gets really big and strong and starts crushing the baseball, he is showing the skills that the drugs helped him create. A Tuft University study showed that steroids can increase home run production by 50 percent showing that steroids are the reason why this weak hitter started crushing the baseball. Steroids help people get stronger a lot faster than if they did not take them.

There are also some good things that come of Performance-Enhancing Drug use in sports. More world records are set, if it was legal then less time and would be used to enforce the drug policy, and the focus turns away from the drugs and back onto the sport that is being played. All of these reasons can all make the sport be more entertaining.

Since these Performance-Enhancing drugs make athletes stronger, more records would be set. A study by a Tuft University physicist found that, on average, taking steroids increases the kinetic energy in a baseball player’s swing by about 10 percent, raises his bat speed by about 5 percent, and boosts the velocity of the hit ball by about 4 percent. These small increases all cause baseballs to travel farther and give players a 50 percent increase in homerun production which makes home run titles much easier to obtain. (Washington Post, Vedantam)

Performance-Enhancing drugs don’t only help baseball players break records, they help all sports. A sprinter by the name of Ben Johnson crushed the previous 100 meter dash record by .14 seconds with a time of 9.79 seconds. After the record breaking feat, he was tested for steroids and the results came back positive causing his record to not count. He would have had sole possession of the record if not for steroid bans.

A weightlifter by the name Jeff Michels won 3 gold medals in the 1983 Olympics because of his use of steroids. His medals were stripped because he tested positive for steroids but that helps to show that steroids do help athletes become stronger and provide for tougher competition. This tougher competition would make people work harder to strive for their goals that they want to achieve.

Money can also be saved if athletes could use Performance-Enhancing drugs. Instead of spending money on doctors to test players and investigators to investigate the players found using the drugs, they could just let it all go and save millions of dollars. With the money they save they could buy new equipment for each team. It would also give the leagues more time to decide on ways to make money.

The focus of league officials would come back to the sport being played. Instead of them worrying about who has been taking Performance-Enhancing drugs and how long they need to suspend that person for, they could worry about who hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 9th or who just won the gold in the Olympics all without worrying about what they did to get so good.

Performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed in any sport ever and the government should stay out of the entire struggle with these drugs in sports. The problems with Performance-Enhancing drugs has increased over the years but if the government stepped in and tried to deal with it, it would just give them another responsibility that they may not be able to handle. They may also be able to take steps that are too drastic such as throwing people in jail.

Performance enhancing drugs are very harmful to the human body and should never be used in sports. They cause many life threatening sicknesses such as heart attacks and heart disease. They also provide unfair advantages and do not show an athlete’s true skill. There are good sides to it as well such as the added strength it gives athletes causes better records, more home runs, faster people, if they were legal then less time would be used to enforce the drug policy, and they would turn the focus away from drugs and back to the sport being played. Even with the good that can come out of Performance Enhancing drugs they are not worth the fatal risks and being known as a cheater for the rest of an athlete’s career. Keep all Performance Enhancing drugs out of sports forever.


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