How Would You Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports?

How would you deal with performance enhancing drugs in sports? See what some forum members would do if they were in control. Do you agree and what would your stand be? Learn more right here.


TOPIC: How Would You Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports?

The Question:

This controversial topic is still the highlight in the papers and on the news. More names and substances have come out.

If you were in control, how would you deal with performance enhancing drugs in sports?

Which specific (performance enhancing or not) substances would you ban and why?

Which specific substances (performance enhancing or not) would you not ban and why not?

Should the ban on substances differ from sport to sport, or should they all remain the same? Why or why not?

Bonus Question: What do you think will happen in the future regarding steroid scandals? Do you think that they will continue like this, or do you think the organizations will finally get control of them?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
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      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

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1st Place - webhead
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Competition is characterized by the simple fact that each competitor has the same goal, winning or to a lesser degree excel in what he/she is doing. Getting an edge is what it's all about and when dedication and genetics run out you're either satisfied or not. At that point drugs come in to play. They can be used to lift you up one step more or to compensate for lesser performance.

The use of drugs isn't limited to sports competition, lots of students use drugs to increase concentration, lots of business men use drugs to keep working.

Sports differs in the way that in a professional setting dedication and training can be assumed optimal for each athlete. At top levels there isn't a single athlete that will not have a coach and will use some kind of medical supervision.

Getting that edge has been an aspect of sports throughout history. Early on in the late 1800's cyclists had used caffeine and cocaine to reduce fatigue and pain during the race. One of the first unconfirmed cases of modern doping would be in Olympic Weightlifting by Soviet athletes using Testosterone injections to get the Gold.

My sports are bodybuilding and (road) cycling, both of which are known for substance abuse and both differ heavily in their way of dealing with it. Substance abuse in bodybuilding is officially non existing but let's be honest, it's a prerequisite for IFBB competition, hence there appears to be a "don't ask don't tell" policy. This appears to be somewhat unique among sports.

In cycling doping/drug abuse is regulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency or WADA which provides an extensive list of prohibited substances which are proven to be performance enhancing. Yet each year athlete's get caught at the highest level. In a desperate attempt to limit doping use the cycling union has come up with charters which obligate the caught athlete to be immediately suspended and to return an entire year's salary.

Cycling is just an example for any other sport going from cardiovascular endurance sports, team sports like Football or Soccer and even Darts. Natural bodybuilding should be included because it officially (albeit not uniformly regulated) bans performance enhancing drugs.

Football Soccer
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Football & Soccer.


If You Were In Control...
If You Were In Control, How Would You Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports?

A common opinion is "legalize it, they all do it anyway" which on first sight is perfectly sound. The problem lies in the fact that if anyone is allowed to use drugs you can only excel by using more drugs and the race would then be, "How much can you dope your athlete?"

The truth is that lots of substances are incredibly expensive. Steroids are mostly cheap as candy in the world of performance drugs as are most amphetamines that boost stamina. When trying to increase cardiovascular performance by means of hormones such as EPO, forms of synthetic oxygen carriers and pulmonary relaxants (opening up the lungs) the prices easily get up the $50,000 and more per treatment.

This might be peanuts for top athletes but a sport discipline consists of more then top athletes alone.

Here is where the first problems arise: money and availability of drugs often limit performance enhancement among less than top athletes. A lot of them resort to lesser-grade and unsafe alternatives. A local cyclist nearly died from using a calf-serum derivate (poor man's ego) that was not properly refrigerated during the transport from source to user.

At the top it's simply how much you can administer before you collapse. When Bjarne Riis won the Tour de France in 1996 he had a hematocrit of 64. Hematocrit is the percentage of settled red blood cells (for oxygen transport) which averages around 45% for non-athletes.

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1996 Tour de France.

Because of stress and exhaustion following 3 weeks and over 3000km of cycling this drops to the mid 30's. Riis ended in the high 60's, which is nearly syrupy blood requiring blood thinners and muscle relaxants to keep from cramping.

Another problem would be the cost and effectiveness of tests. It goes without saying that a vast amount of substances in conjunction with a complex metabolism and limited sources for testing (blood, urine) gets complicated rather fast.

There is a time limit too, hormones can get cleared soon with their effects lasting for months. Blood doping (administering blood to boost the oxygen carrying capacities) is exceedingly difficult to detect requiring specialized equipment.

To sum it up: a zero-tolerance policy is held for almost all sports in order to keep competition based on athletic abilities and to safeguard the athletes from serious health risks.

It's impossible to detect each new substance and certainly with new tactics such as gene doping coming our way it will not be possible to have a water tight seal against drug use. This is no reason not to test for abuse even if it was only to keep the pressure up and to protect athletes. I completely subscribe to this policy.

As for the athlete's decision to use or not? Dave Draper summed it up nicely in his column: "You know where the rack is, the weight is on your shoulders."

Dave Draper
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Dave Draper.


What Would You Ban?
Which Specific (Performance Enhancing Or Not) Substances Would You Ban And Why?

The WADA provides a very complete list of effectively enhancing substances along with the policy to disallow all chemically and effectively similar substances. This covers all currently known and future drugs. I firmly believe their directions are an example and a good base to prohibit drug use in competition.


What Would You Not Ban?
Which Specific Substances (Performance Enhancing Or Not) Would You Not Ban And Why Not?

Any substance which does not lift an athlete over their naturally achievable performance may be allowed in my opinion. Food supplements fall in this category as they only provide the body with the required blocks, building that sports frame has to be done by training and recuperation ultimately limited by your genetic potential.

Being the best athlete shouldn't be any more fair than being the best looking model: you're born with it.


Differences Between Sports
Should The Ban On Substances Differ From Sport To Sport, Or Should They All Remain The Same? Why Or Why Not?

It shouldn't differ at all. Most performance enhancers have a versatile use. Steroids promote muscle growth and strength. That doesn't immediately come to mind when you see an Ethiopian skeleton win a marathon well ahead of competition.

Better recovery enables to train beyond natural limits which will show up a few months later in your results even if the athlete's clean then.

Extra strength allows a cycler to pedal at a lower cadence while maintaining speed thus not getting out of breath so fast. Sprinters naturally benefit from explosive strength.

It's true that cardiovascular enhancement will be of little use when weightlifting so I doubt that many will go down that road, nevertheless it might lessen perceived fatigue allowing to train harder.

RELATED POLL
Should The Ban On Substances Differ From Sport To Sport, Or Should They All Remain The Same?

Different From Sport To Sport.
They Should All Remain The Same.
There Shouldn't Be Any Bans.


Bonus Question
What Do You Think Will Happen In The Future Regarding Steroid Scandals? Do You Think That They Will Continue Like This, Or Do You Think The Organizations Will Finally Get Control Of Them?

Steroids form a relative small group of drugs which are all similar in structure and form a relative easily detectable target. Avoiding steroid detection is mostly based on circumventing the control itself by fraud or swapping samples or being inventive and getting your timing right to be clean on the moment of detection.

This form of competition fraud can never be weeded out but the scientific testing can provide a full cover. However, cheating is merely human nature and money buys a lot, even organization officials. That is where the true challenge lies in my opinion.


2nd Place - Veeshmack
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


If You Were In Control...
If You Were In Control, How Would You Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports?

If I were in control, I would work hard to regulate substances; both banned and allowed substances. It would be very difficult to keep up with all the athletes and new substances that are constantly being found, and with more ways to mask substances; it would be very difficult to actually make a huge change. Never the less, I would put a lot of time and money into trying to stop as much of it as possible, and attempt finding a way to convince all athletes to not use them.

A big step in this would most likely be to find the supplying sources and do whatever it takes to stop these products from getting out (or at least without some sort of prescription), and then get the personnel to allow more frequent testing of athletes, and possibly testing more athletes at different parts of the year, such as at the beginning of a sporting season, midway, at the beginning of playoffs and big tournaments, after championship and all-star games, as well as testing throughout the off season. Though it seems like less than every week, more athletes could be tested at each time opposed to the 3-5 athletes tested at random.


What Would You Ban?
Which Specific (Performance Enhancing Or Not) Substances Would You Ban And Why?

Substances I would have banned would be similar to the way current regulations are in place. I feel that any substances that have the ability to push you beyond genetic limitations should be banned. As for specifics, supplements and substances that contain (or in its purity) any anabolic steroid, prohormone or pro-steroid, methylated substances, or any other substance that does or has the potential to alter testosterone or hormone levels.

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The reason I would have these types of supplements and substances banned is because they are literally changing the way your body works, whereas other supplements contain substances and chemicals that are found in food or that your body already produces based on the genetics you are given. I feel that once you try to alter the limitations of your body, you are cheating.


What Would You Not Ban?
Which Specific Substances (Performance Enhancing Or Not) Would You Not Ban And Why Not?

Substances that would not be banned would consist of anything that does not alter your body's genetics or hormone levels. The substance would have to be containing elements/chemicals that your body naturally produces within a certain boundary (excluding hormone levels) or can be consumed through food products.

Some basic supplements that would be allowed are fat burners, proteins, creatines, nitric oxides, amino acids, joint supporters, multivitamins, and other basic substances. I also believe that ephedrine should have the same regulations it currently has. This is for general safety even though it can be a very effective product for training.


Differences Between Sports
Should The Ban On Substances Differ From Sport To Sport, Or Should They All Remain The Same? Why Or Why Not?

It doesn't matter what sport you are in, they should all have the same (or at least similar) regulations. I believe that for all athletes to be ranked under the same class they should be limited and forced to abide the same rules. It would not be fair that one athlete is allowed to dose with a certain substance, while another athlete cannot, yet they are both going to be called athletes.

Of course, there would be some sort of leniency, specifically towards illness and injuries, if a certain substance would be the only way to help someone out, then it should be looked into to see if there is a safe method of going about using them without jeopardizing ones' health or physical capabilities.


Bonus Question
What Do You Think Will Happen In The Future Regarding Steroid Scandals? Do You Think That They Will Continue Like This, Or Do You Think The Organizations Will Finally Get Control Of Them?

I don't think that all these steroid scandals will ever come to an end. If sports leagues were to discover every athlete that is currently using banned substances, I would guess that most sports would lose near 30-45% of their top competitors.

The amount of people that are tested is so low in comparison to how many actually use them, so to track them all down can take a very long time. In addition, there are also many doctors who specialize in keeping the substance abuse under covers. They can offer more substances to mask the findings of other substances that are banned.

I find it hard to believe anything anyone says will stop athletes either. They are trying to become the best and win at all costs. So in my honest opinion, I think that no matter how many people they can find, they will never stop them all.

Vivak P. (Veeshmack)


3rd Place - ceazar
View This Author's BodySpace Here.


If You Were In Control...
If You Were In Control, How Would You Deal With Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports?

Performance enhancing drugs can include anything from a multivitamin all the way to an anabolic steroid, some of these so called performance enhancing drugs are legal while others are illegal, currently.

If I had complete control over the sports organizations choice of approved and unapproved performance enhancers, I would allow the usage of most currently banned enhancers (example: pro-hormones and anabolic steroids).

The use of these drugs have been proven over the years to increase a person ability to lift more weight, to run faster, increase ones stamina, and many more positive effects. There has also been known negative side effects. Most known negative side effects are from overuse and abuse of these enhancers.

Allowing athletes to use these banned substances strikes up much controversy. What will keep them from over using and abusing these substances?

Well, the idea of allowing them to be used in sports organizations has been presented. Now onto controlling them, obviously the individual can't be trusted to use them on his/her own, either can the team or organization he or she belongs to. So that presents the question of who will be controlling them.

The main organization of that sport, like Major League Baseball for example, would have full control over these. Rather than trusting the teams medical staff who could easily allow abuse to gain an advantage in there sport, the league would have there own group of doctors to handle athletes' use of these drugs. This is turn would prevent over use and abuse, vigorous testing of testosterone levels and athletes' overall health would be regularly evaluated to prevent injuries or even death to those athletes choosing to use.

Baseball
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Baseball.

I think the negative persona revolving steroid use needs to be reevaluated; proper use of steroids has been proven to give an athlete a competitive advantage with little or no health risks. Obvious arguments will include the negative side effects of steroids but there are no real long term studies on them to prove otherwise. Until the facts prove the negative outweighs the positive they should lift the ban.

You may also think that using steroids in professional sports will give those that choose to use the competitive edge; one must consider those sports that require specific skills that not just anyone can develop.

Baseball for example; steroids or other performance enhancing drugs will not increase ones ability to bat. Manny Ramirez for example; for those of you who don't know, Manny Ramirez plays for the Boston Red Sox. Manny is well known for his ability as a pitch reader - from the batters box he can identify what type of pitch is being thrown and where it will end up. Obviously performance enhancing drugs will not increase his ability to spot a pitch or hit it. They may increase the distance that ball will travel when he makes contact with it, also how fast he can run the bases.

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What Would You Ban?
Which Specific (Performance Enhancing Or Not) Would You Ban And Why?

I would allow the use of all enhancers that can be proven safe when properly used. Personally having never used these substances one can only create an opinion based upon the readings of other opinions and short term studies.

There are no real long term studies on the use of these banned substances. That being said the use of substances would be monitored and the data recorded would in turn give us short and long term studies to further reinforce the positive!


Differences Between Sports
Should The Ban On Substances Differ From Sport To Sport, Or Should They All Remain The Same? Why Or Why Not?

The ban should be lifted altogether throughout all sports; the choice to use any substances should be choice of the athlete rather than the organization. The obvious argument will be that anyone will be able to play professional sports due to the fact that they can use steroids. That being said, specific skills required to play specific sports can't be attained just from steroid use.

Not everyone can hit a baseball, not everyone can shoot a basket in basketball, and not everything can dribble a basketball, and so on and so on. So in my opinion the choice should be a personal choice and nothing more.

Basketball
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Not Everyone Can Shoot A Basketball.


Bonus Question
What Do You Think Will Happen In The Future Regarding Steroid Scandals? Do You Think That They Will Continue Like This, Or Do You Think The Organizations Will Finally Get Control Of Them?

I think in the future steroid use in professional sports will be monitored much more heavily, with more vigorous testing, etc. I think the accuracy of testing will be much higher in the future, so those using will be easily spotted. So yes I do think that organizations will get steroid use under control. Unless the organizations change the rules regarding usage of banned performance enhancers.

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