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The Debate on The Topic of Doping in Sports

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Recently, doping in sports has become a huge problem. Doping is being used in sports in order to cheat the system and gain an unfair advantage against other competitors. Various careers were ruined in multiple sports as well as trophies as significant as olympic medals were confiscated. Even though various precautions were attempted, the control over doping stays limited because of the new substances that are constantly being enhanced and the testings are more and more unsuccessful. Also, many companies and promotions lost money as a result of failed doping tests. However, private company owners and promoters are not the only people angry at this subject, the public is disappointed as well. “Eighty-eight of all adults in the U.S. agree that more action needs to be taken to prevent the use of PEDs in the Olympics and professional sports (89%) today.”

There is a lot of debate happening on the topic of whether doping should be completely banned or limited to a controlled extent. Even though it seems obvious, we should deeply consider whether completely banning doping is the right thing to do. For instance, if it is considered wrong to enhance your performance via doping, then why isn’t it also wrong to take certain dietary supplements, or use carb-loading, or train at an altitude? Yet, there are certain logical reasons of why doping is being suppressed with such harsh intent. The main reason is obviously the fact that it gives an unfair advantage over other competitors. For example, imagine if a car’s fuel capacity was only filled half way and a different car was full of fuel, so if there was a task of which car would last longer on the road while maintaining the same speed, the car with more fuel would unquestionably win. That is the kind of advantage doping can provide athletes with. However, if there are different ways of gaining advantages such as implementing different dietary techniques and training methods, why aren’t those methods considered cheating as well? Based on the public’s overall opinion, it seems that the ideology behind the ban of doping is simply because it is against the rules, and therefore it is considered cheating. Yet, not many wonder what would happen if the rules a bit bent. Julian Savulescu, a sport ethicist takes a point of doping being allowed in this article by Scott Douglass, “ For starters, says Savulescu, the current testing system has largely failed to deter or catch cheaters; he cites an estimate that the probability of detecting doping is 2.9%. That fact, combined with athletes butting up against the limits of human performance (in his estimation), makes use of performance-enhancing drugs inevitable. Savulescu’s argument doesn’t consist entirely of what might seem like giving up the fight. Legalizing performance-enhancing drugs, he says, would allow for regulating them. This, in turn, would increase safety and lessen the risk to athletes who use them. Savulescu also points out that opposing doping because it gives athletes an unfair advantage ignores the realities of modern sport. Many legal practices and devices, from sleeping in an altitude chamber to consuming sport drinks to taking anti-inflammatories, improve athletic performance, and are not only allowed, but encouraged by corporations and sport federations.” However, there still is controversy in the fact that some people see doping as moral issue rather than medical. Theoretically speaking, if performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) were allowed, then athletes who want maintain a healthy lifestyle would not exist since everybody would start taking PEDs because of our natural competitiveness. This means that instead of leveling the playing field, allowing doping would legalize all sports to become consisted of only junkies.

Athletes use many different types of steroids to get several different advantages over others. According to The Sportster, the most commonly used PED is an anabolic steroid called stanozolol. This is not a shocking fact considering that anabolic steroids are drugs that are made to mimic the effect of male hormones in the body which in simple words means that it helps the body to gain muscles easier, therefore it is understandable why it is used so widely since almost all bodybuilders use a similar steroid or probably even this exact one. Surprisingly yet understandably, the second most commonly used banned substance in marijuana. It does seem strange, however it has been proven that marijuana can assist athletic performance in the aspect that it relaxes the brain because it satisfies the cannabinoid receptors in our brains. The third most used PED is any kind of Diuretics. Diuretics are mainly used for masking any kind of steroid use. That is accomplished by how Diuretics affect the kidneys. To explain simply, they dilute fluid which dissolves the steroids in the system making them harder to detect. These types of supplements are widely used in fighting sports such as boxing and MMA. The reason behind that is these pills also expel large amounts of fluid, which helps fighters to cut and maintain weight easier which qualifies them to compete in lower weight classes. There is a set of specific sports where steroids are used more than in the others. The most steroid-inhibited sport is cycling at 3.6 percent positive test results. The second is weightlifting at three percent, which is followed by boxing, triathlon, and baseball. Whether a substance is a banned steroid or not can be found out by simply visiting the official website of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Why do people choose the risk of getting a ban from sports over a fair and equal competitional environment? The use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports can be traced back as far as the eighth century CE Olympic Games when Greek Olympians are believed to have eaten sheep testicles to boost energy levels. Steroids certainly provide a huge advantage over non-steroid users. The ‘big players’ of the steroid game are Anabolics followed by protein hormones and Erythropoietin (EPO) or blood doping. As previously mentioned, Anabolics restore cells allowing athletes to train longer and harder, therefore they are popular amongst sprinters, weight-lifters, and bodybuilders. Protein hormones, also known as human growth hormone(HGH), stimulate an increase in the strength of muscles and bones, while reducing body fat contemporarily. EPO, also known as Erythropoietin, also known as blood doping, is used to increase the oxygen delivery to exercising tissues. Because of that, this steroid is popular among endurance athletes such as cyclists and marathon and triathlon runners. Yet, right now, there are several ‘new kids on the block’ formally known as undetectable forms of Erythropoietin, genetic doping, and xenon. While Erythropoietin is simply being made undetected, gene therapy is completely changing the game by using synthetic substances to manipulate the muscle building gene to enhance performance. Xenon is a noble gas commonly used as an anaesthetic agent, yet is sports it associated with endurance athletes. It binds to a specific region of the DNA and boosts Erythropoietin levels.

Meanwhile some think that doping should be allowed, others are trying to establish ways to cleanse professional sports from PEDs.  

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