Doping, Athletes and Sports

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Doping can be strictly defined as the consumption of any substance (whether food or drug) to improve one's performance. This definition can be applied in a variety of situations, from college students drinking coffee in order to stay awake to athletes who take steroids to make them stronger. The problem with doping is where one draws the line. The drugs used in doping often have detrimental effects to one's health, both mental and physical. In the short run these drugs improve one's performance, but in the long run they can kill.

Turning sports into a way of life instead of a leisure activity has generated fierce competition for athletes to be the best at what they do. Having a "natural ability" no longer is enough. One must work long and hard hours to gain an edge on the competition. However, these days, even good training cannot guarantee a victory. For athletes and coaches the drive to be at the top is so great that they look for shortcuts to their end goal: winning. The one who wins is always the one who is remembered in the end; finishing second is worse than finishing last. When this type of attitude becomes predominant, it is not so surprising that they try any and all methods of cheating the system. In this way, doping has become a common practice for athletes to gain advantage on their competition. Is this a practice that we as the general public should accept, or is there something we can do to change the status quo?

Doping is a practice that has been going on since the time of "ancient Greek athletes, who supposedly ate herbs, sesame seeds, dried figs, and mushrooms for this purpose" (Hoberman, 1992, 104). Likewise, athletes have readily consumed such drugs as caffeine and alcohol to improve performa...

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...thlete under twenty-four hour surveillance is neither feasible nor lawful. Only when there are more accurate tests can the enforcement of drug rules and regulations be possible. As more sophisticated tests come to market, fewer drugs will escape detection. With the limited ability of current techniques to catch athletes red-handed, pressure must be put on the athletic community to reject doping. Until the athletic community refuses doping as a means to an end, little can be done to stop it from happening.

Works Cited

Barnes, Julian. (2000). "The Hardest Test." The New Yorker. Aug. 21 & 28

Eitzen, D. Stanley. (1999). "Sport Is Fair, Sport Is Foul." Fir and Foul: Beyond the Myths and Paradoxes of Sport.

Rowman and Littlefield, NY. Hoberman, John M. (1992). "Faster, Higher, Stronger: A History of Doping." Mortal Engines. The Free Press, NY.

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