Doping as a Fault-line Between The Will to Purity and The Will to Win

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1064 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

Words: 1064|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: May 24, 2022

During the twentieth century, science made huge strides in the field of medicine. The consumption of drugs increased immensely during the same period, and nothing points to any modification in that trend in the twenty-first century. Quite the contrary, on top of the steady increase in the number of prescription drugs available and the potential athlete use, there are also increasing numbers of people who look to medication to overcome some physiological weakness or shortcoming. While doping as a modern phenomenon – in other words, since the mid-nineteenth century – has been narrowly related to sporting competition in Australia, it has today taken on an additional meaning. Body-builders who train exclusively with a view to becoming larger and stronger use anabolic steroids to promote muscle growth. Ever larger numbers of students suffering from exam anxiety have begun to use Betablockers to calm their nerves. Others take stimulants to fight jetlag or to enable them to study for longer periods without sinking into the arms of sleep. My working hypothesis is that the fight against doping – promoted as an initiative to cleanse sport of cheats and to establish their own league – is at heart an attempt to redeem sport from itself. At the heart of this presentation it runs a fault-line between the will to purity and the will to win.

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Such forms of ‘doping’, although now widely discussed, are outside the scope of this presentation, which focuses on the use of doping in elite sport of Australia. Examples from swimming will take a prominent place, since cases of doping have been most frequent among athletes in this field – or at least most frequently reported – and where the pressure to put an end to the problem has been at its most extreme. Examples of the sport’s determination to tackle doping include proposals for DNA sampling and – in advance of the 2019 Swimming World Champions – the demand that swimmers should sign up to accepting a fine and 4-year band for a doping infringement, in addition a further penalty if judge declares. Although, swimming offers many examples that are relevant to this presentation I am to discuss, this presentation is not exclusively dedicated to the analysis of the use of doping in swimming. Its aim is, rather, to pave the way for a greater understanding of the mechanisms at work behind the use of doping in elite sport in general and in so doing to reveal problems in the way the issue has so far been tackled and a solution to the issue in sport.

Serious athletes will tell you there is a drive to win. Take away the personal accomplishment, athletes will often end up achieving their dreams of winning a medal and securing a spot on an elite team for the honour of their country. In such an environment there is no doubt performance enhancing drugs are becoming more prevalent. With athletes taking these drugs it is evident there are personal risks. These consisting of Severe acne, Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, Liver abnormalities and tumours, Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the 'bad' cholesterol), Decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the 'good' cholesterol, High blood pressure (hypertension), Heart and blood circulation problems, Aggressive behaviours, rage or violence, Psychiatric disorders, such as depression, Drug dependence, Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you're injecting the drugs, Inhibited growth and development, and risk of future health problems in teenagers and yet they still want to risk their body to win, their career and their goals and we as an Australian culture praise our athletes but how is this fair to the Australian athletes who play by the rules and follow strict training schedules when there are others cheating. Not only does this affect the athlete as a person but also their competitors. Consequences come from all different angles whether it be more muscle for body builders, creatine for rugby player or Androstenedione for swimmers it is allowing their bodies to cope with the extreme pressures of the sport.

After looking at the psychology behind doping in Australian sport I couldn’t help but notice in athletes who have tested positive only have few of them admitted to cheating. They hold steadfast that they committed no wrong doing. Even serial cheaters like Lance Armstrong come across as not truly believing that they deceived fans and their fellow competitors. The mindset seems to be that they don’t truly believe they violated any moral issues. This affects the values in which Australian sport upholds to provide a culture where it is an even playing field but rather winning at all cost Dan Airley states in his latest book. Doping in Australian sport is all about the personal gains and improvements to be the best whilst person risks and factors don’t even contribute to their psychological reasoning in taking illegal supplements.

A statement from a former cyclist states “We want explanations for why we behave as we do and for the ways the world around us functions. Even when our feeble explanations have little to do with reality. We’re storytelling creatures by nature, and we tell ourselves story after story until we come up with an explanation that we like and that sounds reasonable enough to believe. And when the story portrays us in a more glowing and positive light, so much the better.” There is yet to be a win with the battle of doping with all addicted athletes having the mindset of liars. Just to win. The World Anti-doping Agency states “However, no discernible reduction in the incident of doping for the past seven years”

With this an issue of Australian sport Ehrenburg and Rosen states “no decrease in doping cases seen it is evident that it is going to come down to reducing and controlling the addiction of doping by Australian athletes rather then preventing the issue that is seemingly increasing”. In helping to reduce and control the fear of being banned from sport personal moral values, social sanctions, and the effects of health concerns all contribute to the athlete forgoing illicit drugs.

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The education that is needing to support the athletes is not currently there and needs more funding whilst sports psychologist examine the causes of why athletes dope. As Australians what are we going to do to help our athletes and participants of sport make it a clean and engaging environment to participate in.

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Dr. Oliver Johnson

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Doping as a Fault-line Between the Will to Purity and the Will to Win. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Doping as a Fault-line Between the Will to Purity and the Will to Win.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
Doping as a Fault-line Between the Will to Purity and the Will to Win. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
Doping as a Fault-line Between the Will to Purity and the Will to Win [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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