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Drugs and Cheating in Sport: Ethical Issues

The facts about Drug Usage in Sport: Ethical Issues, and Athletes who have recently been convicted of Cheating

Ollie McCormack

on 27 June 2014

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Transcript of Drugs and Cheating in Sport: Ethical Issues

Drugs and Cheating in Sport: The Ethics
A presentation by Oliver McCormack
Why athletes choose to use Cheating Methods and How they can gain an unfair Advantage
The World Anti-Doping Agency, established in 1999, developed a World Anti-Doping Code, first applied at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and accredits 34 laboratories around the world. WADA has made an impact, yet its principles are far from universally accepted.

Some sporting institutions remain reluctant to expose drug-use, as this could deprive their sports of some of its brightest stars, and also reduce the credibility of sports in the eyes of the paying public.

As far back as ancient Greece, athletes have often been willing to take any preparation that would improve their performance. But it appears that drug use increased in the 1960s. The precise reason for the increase is uncertain, but we do know that anabolic-androgenic steroids were made available for sale during this period and the East German government began giving drugs to its athletes in an attempt to excel on an international level.

Athletes may also misuse drugs to relax, cope with stress or boost their own confidence.
The Background and History of Drug usage in Sport

The sprinter Marion Jones confessed, in October 2007, to her use of performance enhancing drugs, and was stripped of her five Olympic medals.

The British athlete Dwain Chambers was also found to have been using prohibited enhacing drugs, and was subsequently banned for life from competing as an athlete.
He received a two-year athletics ban in 2003 after testing positive for THG, a banned performance-enhancing drug.
He began using performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 and he was later stripped of the 100 m European title and record he achieved that year.
Due to his doping ban, he was barred from the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and much of the European racing circuit, from 2006 to 2012.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned his lifetime Olympic ban, deeming it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, and he competed in the 2012 London Olympics.
Sportsmen and women consider doping substances to be effective when it comes to performance improvement. Published in the journal Sports Medicine, the findings indicate athletes take drugs in order to achieve athletic success, improve recovery and prevent nutritional deficiencies, as well as for financial gain and simply because other competitors are using them.

Athletes believe doping substances to be effective, even though they understand that using them is a form of cheating, and can lead to punishment and poses health dangers.
Athletes may have several reasons for using performance-enhancing drugs.

An athlete may want to: build mass and strength of muscles and/or bones; increase delivery of oxygen to exercising tissues; mask pain; stimulate the body; relax; reduce weight or hide the use of other drugs.

Athletes who use performance enhancing drugs, often gain an unfair and often noticeable advantage over fellow competitors.
Competition is healthy and fun to watch when everyone is starting from an equal place and honing their strength and ability by practice.

When some are taking performance enhancing drugs and others are not doing that, there is no longer equality. There is an unfair advantage, especially when these drugs are not acknowledged, and athletes gain an advantage which defeats the aim of competition.

What types of Drugs are frequently used, how they are used, and the effects they can have
What do authorities do to prevent athletes from using Drugs and how do they test for Drugs?
So is it all perceived as ethically acceptable?
“If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying”
Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroids are drugs that resemble testosterone, a hormone produced in men's testes. Because these drugs affect muscle growth, raising their levels in the blood can help athletes increase their muscle size and strength. Athletes who use anabolic steroids also claim they reduce body fat and recovery time after injury.
Examples of anabolic steroids include testosterone, stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone and clostebol. Abuse of these drugs can make people aggressive and cause high blood pressure, liver problems, impotence and declining sperm production in men, kidney failure and heart disease.

Diuretics can be used in a sport as a masking agent to prevent the detection of another banned substance. Examples of commonly used diuretics include furosemide, bendroflumethiazide and metolazone.
As well as masking other drugs, diuretics can also help athletes lose weight, which they could use to their advantage in sports where they need to qualify in a certain weight category.

The race that shocked the world: Ben Johnson won the 100m final at the Seoul Olympics but failed a drugs test and was stripped of the title

Facing a two-year ban: Tyson Gay had a positive test for a banned steroid

Wrongdoing: Lance Armstrong's case highlights how cycling has been faced with the same drug problems

There are many different methods by which athletes can use drugs, and many of these methods have been proven to be successfull when trying to avoid and pass drugs test in sporting events, Possibly the most prominent method by blood transfusion (after altitude training), where the results of this cheating method are subtle, and are very difficult to detect.

These methods include urine replacement, gene doping, and the use of various ointments including EPO and testosterone which have been proven to mask the use of other drugs. Cheats have started using more sophisticated methods of using drugs; not just pills and injections.
New methods such as skin patches, micro-doses, tattoos, and even more extreme and complicated cheating methods such as catheterization, where a tube is inserted into the bladder via the urinary tract (to try and drain or inject urine in order to filter the urine deposits to try and mask the use of certain drugs), have been used, which are somewhat threatening to the testing system, which is far behind the development of cheating methods.
The methods used are increasingly complex, and therefore hard to control.
To a certain extent, using performance enhancing drugs can level the playing field in modern day sports, and when under such enormous pressure to succeed, athletes may turn to drugs for a confidence boost; by allowing the use of drugs in sport, there is a greater variation in athletic ability, and the competition is perceived as being easier.

On the other hand, the concept of Cheating in Sport is immoral, considering that it ruins the true nature of any sporting event, which is that it is supposed to be of a competitive nature. Athletes who use Drugs in order to gain an athletic edge, often have a huge advantage over opponents, and Cheating therefore makes the purpose of sport and competition utterly pointless.

These controls eventually evolved into a systematic-testing regimen that all Olympic athletes must adhere to. Testing of athletes for performance-enhancing drugs includes both urine and blood tests. As of 1999, the authoritative body on the use of performance-enhancing drugs is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This organization oversees the testing of athletes for several sports federations and the Olympic Games. As the creators of these drugs continue to improve their sophistication, potency and transparency, WADA and its constituency also innovate new ways to detect these drugs. Athletes continue to use various medical modifications to their body as a means of improving their athletic performances.

In the late 1990s, the IOC took the initiative in a more organized battle against doping, leading to the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 1999. The 2000 Summer Olympics and 2002 Winter Olympics have shown that the effort to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from the Olympics is not over, as several medalists in weightlifting and cross-country skiing were disqualified due to failing a drug test. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, only one athlete failed a drug test and had a medal revoked.

The IOC-established drug testing regimen (now known as the "Olympic Standard") has set the worldwide benchmark that other sporting federations attempt to emulate. During the Beijing games, 3,667 athletes were tested by the IOC under the authority and guidance of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both urine and blood testing was used in a coordinated effort to detect banned substances and recent blood transfusions. While several athletes were barred from competition by their National Olympic Committees prior to the Games, six athletes failed drug tests while in competition in Beijing
The testing also has to be at random. If a player knows when the test is going to be, they can simply make sure that their system is clean at the time of the test.
Players also must be fully clear on the rules and what substances are banned. The NCAA has an easily accessible list of what substances are banned, how they are tested for and why they are banned on its website. This way, players are clear on what they can put in their bodies.

This is also a good way to educate players on the dangers of the substances they may be tempted to use. From a Division 1 football player under the national spotlight to a Division 3 diver, every player can be clear on the rules. Just like any problem, the only true way to solve it is through education.

Many high school sports programs now have people come in to talk to them about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. The events in pro sports over the past decade has made it clear that athletes need to be educated early on how to take care of their bodies without breaking the law.
Is it unethical to do things to your body without being aware of the consequences? It's something most of us are guilty of - how many of us always read the ingredients?

The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports has been widespread. If all current prohibited substances and methods were banned retrospectively, record books would have to be rewritten. The use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has had a long history at the Olympic Games.

Its origins can be traced back to the Ancient Olympics where Olympians would eat lizard meat prepared a special way, in the hopes that it would give them an athletic edge. Cheating methods have been used in various Sports for many years.

Thomas Hicks, US winner of the 1904 Olympic marathon, took strychnine and brandy during the race. Denmark's Knut Enemark died competing in the 1960 Olympic road cycling race, from the effects of amphetamines and nicotinyl tartrate.
Drug-detection began to be taken seriously in 1967, when the International Olympic Committee started to ban drugs, after which Soviet shot-put Olympic champion Tamara Press disappeared from international competition.

Full-scale drug-testing began in 1972, initiating a central dynamic of modern competitive sports: the race between testers to detect abuse, and scientific and medical teams to mask uses of banned substances or suspend a drug programme prior to competition. Mandatory random testing was introduced in 1989.
China, in the 1990s, generated muscular women in the water. Events descended into farce as swimmers leapfrogged barriers to escape the testers, and stand-ins mounted the podium to pick up medals. China has done much to clean up its act, but its 2008 Olympic judo champion Tong Wen was suspended for two years in May 2010, and stripped of her 2009 world title.
Athletes sometimes turn to substances to help them get ahead of their competition.Performance enhancing drugs are mostly used to improve athletic abilities and give an unfair advantage over competitors in sports. The International Olympic Committee banned performance enhancing drugs but because of the severe competition to be the best, the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports has become increasingly common.

Taking these drugs has both advantages and consequences, for example, Anabolic steroids increase the testosterone produced by your body making muscles bigger and helps the body recover from work outs more quickly. It can be taken as a pill, injection, or a topical treatment.

Types of Performance Enhancing Drugs Include:
•Anabolic steroids
•Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Lance Armstrong's confession that he cheated in international cycling races acknowledges that he used a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs to try to boost red blood cell count, improve strength and stamina and mask his cheating from anti-doping authorities.
The confessions of successfull and famous athletes proves that the use of performance enhancing drugs has become increasingly widespread and harder to manage than ever before.
The first documented use of drugs to improve an athlete's performance was the winner of the 1904 marathon, Thomas Hicks who was injected with strychnine. The use of performance-enhancing medication has also been attributed to one death during Olympic competition. As rumors of rampant drug use by athletes began to spread, so the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to act. By 1967, the IOC had banned the use of performance enhancing drugs in Olympic competition. The IOC introduced the first drug use controls at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
One of the biggest problems in baseball in the 1980's and 1990's was the lack of drug testing, which led to the increase in doping problems. One way to prevent drugs in sports is to create a strict testing policy for the league. In the NFL, if a player tests positive for a banned substance three times, he is suspended for four games. If he tests positive again, he is banned for a year.

In Major League Baseball, the first positive test is now 50 games, followed by 100, followed by a whole season.
The other way to ensure a clean sport is the frequency of the tests. After his positive test recently, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez said he had been tested 15 times over the past five seasons. That would average out to three a season.
Regardless of the debate about whether the rules should be changed, athletes must abide by them.
Nobody is arguing that it's ethical to enter a competition and then knowingly break the rules, though a few people argue that if competitors choose to accept the risk of being caught, they should cheat if they want to.
Some athletes claim that they didn't knowingly break the rules: their coaches gave them 'supplements' without telling them what they were.

Naïveté, if that is what it is, is not unethical, but it can be argued that professional athletes have a responsibility to be aware of rule-breaking and to keep an eye on what they take or inject.
Because drugs have been in the public eye, it's no longer convincing for athletes to say they weren't aware of the possibility of drug-taking. Technically speaking, Drug usage in sport is a method of Cheating, which is not only not allowed, it is also immoral and unethical.
Cheating methods have been used by athletes for centuries, although it is only very recently that the problems regarding cheating have been addressed.
Here are details of some of the most common drugs/methods used frequently in sport:

Erythropoietin (EPO)
EPO is a peptide hormone that is produced naturally by the human body. It is released from the kidneys and acts on the bone marrow to stimulate red blood cell production. By injecting EPO, athletes aim to increase the concentration of red blood cells to boost their aerobic capacity.
EPO abuse has serious health risks. By thickening the blood, EPO abuse can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The drug has been implicated in the deaths of several athletes.

Blood Doping
There are two forms of blood doping. Autologous blood doping is the transfusion of an athlete's own blood, which has been stored, refrigerated or frozen until needed. Homologous blood doping is the transfusion of blood taken from another person with the same blood type.
Although the use of transfusions for blood doping dates back several decades, experts say it has seen a recent resurgence, probably due to the introduction of more efficient EPO detection methods.
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