Sawyer Schafer English III 2 January 2013 Doping in Sports: “ Is it that bad? ” Sports and competition have always been, are and always will be greatly emphasized in the world. Competitions have provided not only entertainment but a way of life for people for decades. History shows that sports have been played ever since the earliest days when ancient greece had olympic games. | Those games were a large part of their entire existence. | Not unlike the people of Ancient Greece, competition and competitiveness is highly focused on today. Throughout the decades people have struggled to gain an edge or way of being bigger, faster and stronger than their peers. Why? Because there is much to gain by being the best at something: fame, fortune and breaking records. With the bar consistently being raised higher and higher whos to say that anabolic steroids and performance enhancers are not the way of the future?. They get a bad rep by many reporters and so called “ experts”. But are they really that bad? If they are under doctor supervision and plan? I think they could be a good thing and actually level the playing field in sports. This essay will provide information and show why performance enhancers (PEDs) arent as bad as they are made out to be and actually could be a good thing in sports. Performance enhancers and steroids are the new trend in athletics from high school to the highest professional levels. Like sports, steroid have been in existence for decades. History tells that they originated in 1849 when a scientist named Berthold did an experiment on male cockerels. He started by removing their sexual organs. His discovery was that the bird not only lost sexual function but lost several of its male characteristics as well. In this experiment they found out that sexual organs or in this case testicles had an effect on the entire organism. It effected the blood of the animals experimented on. (“ Brief history of steroids”) Following these results scientist attempted to inject this testosterone, hormone found in male sex organs, into animals thtat had been castrated. This was tried on a bull; they extracted testosterone from a bull’s testicles and made it into a more purified form. This was the first testosterone sample which led to many more. After the first testosterone was created and used in an experiment to try and show that nitrogen excretion of a castrated dog could be increased by giving the dog a dose of the testosterone supplement this ended up increasing its body weight which made the experiment a success and proved testosterone to be effective on other animals. This proved that testosterone injected into animals could be beneficial for weight gain and possibly performance. There are also stories in history about use of sterioids on people. The Nazi army was rumored to inject its soldiers with anabolic testosterone to make them get bigger and stronger. In this time period testosterone was already considered as a “ potent anabolic substance” in humans. This was proven true by experiments that were carried out on men. In 1954 this was the beginning of the use of steroids in sports. These tests started to peak interest in other countries and different aspects of life. If these steroids could help soldiers perform then why not athletes? The Soviets team was reported by some to have used anabolic steroids in the World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna, Austria. They dominated the competition and broke several world records. They left this competition with several gold medals in different weight classes. John Zeigler, is known to be the physician who assisted the athletes with their steroid use. He had heard that the Soviet team was using steroinds and wanted to use his knowledge to assist them. After consulting the team doctor, John Zeigler, was allowed to act as a consultant and to make steroid use more effective for the team. This was a huge success and the beginning of something big for all sports. In the next year Zeigler began administering straight testosterone to his weightlifters. Soon other companies were trying to create and distribute their own forms of the substance. This was an enormous business opportunity. Ciba, a pharmaceutical distributer, was one that attempted to synthesize a substance with strength enhancing effects than were comparable or better than testosterone’s. The next step was to create a purified form of the drug. In 1956 Methandrostenolone was created, more commonly known as ” Dianobol”. This substance began to be used in weightlifters training programs. The effects of the Dianobol on weightlifters were very dominant. Following the success in muscular growth, another anabolic steroid was developed. It was used to stimulate growth in children afflicted with Turner Disease which has a symptom of being of short stature. After successful results scientists began to do additional research and experiments with these steroids. Steroids then began to get more and more advanced and becoming very common. Extensive medical research led to advances with Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS and Cancer patients. This, unfortunately, came to a halt when, in 1967 one team dominated the | Olympics in Canada. As a result of this obvious overwhelming “ edge”, in 1967 the International Olympic Council banned the use of anabolic steroids. This decision was followed by most major sporting organizations to ban steroids. However, the Olympics are currently the only competitions that strictly enforce the screening. The Olympic committee then started testing athletes before competition for any performance enhancing drugs. In 1990 the German Olympians were some of the first to get caught, and the scandal helped give anabolic steroids the bad reputation they have had ever since. The United States Congress added steroids to the Controlled Substances Act as an amendment known as the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990. Although it is illegal it is very difficult to enforce. There are constantly new and improved steroids created in illegal labs all over the world. Because they are illegal, scientists are expected to create not only more effective steroids but ones that are more difficult to detect. What it comes down to is that there is a tremendous amount of pressure in athletics to get that edge and eventually athletes who do not want to use illegal substances will have to in order to reach their goals. Athletics in America have gone from entertainment to big business. Since America has the strictest regulations, athletes are going overseas to get their products. If they are going to use them anyway, they should at least boost our own economy and provide jobs. Since all steroid use has to be done in hiding, it is not being regulated. This means that athletes of all ages are finding a way to get steroids and using them as they see fit. In the United States athletes are seen as icons or heroes. Young people want a piece of that and some are desperate enough to do anything to get it. In 2000 a survey among 12th graders was done and reported that 2. 5% used steroids at least once in their lives. This is a very young age and with no doctor supervision. It is a fact that athletes are going to use steroids. So, they should be legalized so they can be regulated and administered by a trained physician. Steroids would change sports forever and make many different ways of testing for them and also ways to not get caught. (“ History of Steroids-A timeline”). This may be true but it would level the playing field. Another argument for legalizing steroids is the fact that the testing is unfair. Does every athlete get routinely tested? Does every level have the same standards? Does each sport follow the same testing rules? Do women athletes get tested as often as men? I don’t think so. We often hear stories about athletes testing positive for some type of illegal enhancement substance in football and baseball but not in basketball. There have been huge scandals within the track & field and cycling sports. What about tennis or soccer? How fair is it that the testing is random? If an entire team is doping and one person gets busted, it is likely that he is not the only one. How fair is it that one athlete gets busted while others continue to use. Doping is made out to be something terrible. When an athlete get caught it never leaves them, that is what people will remember, it ruins their legacies. Testing positive for steroids can destroy a person’s career. Many athletes come from terrible conditions and are desperate. They may see athletics as their ticket out of a terrible situation. They will do anything to get out and steroids might be what works. So we know people are using steroids and they are going to continue. Why not legalize and regulate them? There is a good chance that if used correctly the harm to the body could be minimized. Most people believe that their body is their own property. If an athlete chooses to do steroids how would that be any different than a person choosing to drink or smoke? We may not understand the benefitis to those things but the person doing them might. We know the risks involved in many things but it is our choice whether to participate. If a person is fully aware of the potential negative side effects of steroid use and chooses to use them anyway that is up to them. If an athlete makes that choice then wouldn’t it be better if it was under the supervision of medical professionals? It is the athlete’s body and they should be allowed to make their own choices. As of now, steroid use is considered cheating but if that rule was taken out and it was legal then everyone could and it could possibly level the playing field and save people time and money. Lawmakers, court systems and attourney’s time could be used for other things. If legalized, steroid production and regulation would provide jobs. Teams could hire people who are knowledgeable and trained to administer the use of steroids. The steroids would be produced in legal labs that are monitored by the government. Doctors could specialize in steroid use and assist teams with their use. As of now, people are using them but they are buying them overseas or getting them off the streets. Young athletes, unless they have money, are shooting up unmeasured amounts in dirty environments. If everyone was allowed to use steroids and it was regulated, it would provide jobs and less health risks. Most athletes, at all levels are already using legal types of performance enhancing products. Athletes, especially at higher levels, have personal trainers and specific dieticians. These people are paid to help them eat right, do the right exercises. Most athletes take supplements, vitamins, energy powders and all take protein packed shakes a certain amount of times a day. All of these activities or supplements are used to gain an edge over their competition but could, like steroids, be misused causing harmful damage to the body. Those are all performance enhancing things that they do daily like the strict workouts by the personal trainer. Everyone has all these advantages and enhancers that they can use. Why not steroids then? They should be on a strict doctor controlled regime so they don’t ruin their bodies with too much performance enhancers. They ban steroids but not any other performance enhancing activities or supplements. It should be all or nothing. There is no magic potion. People who take performance enhancers would still need to work hard. None of the performance enhancers, legal or illegal, can replace hard work and practice for a sport. A person who uses steroids would see faster results than just normal hard work but the individual athlete would still need to put in the time and effort to maximize their results. A person cannot just simply inject steroids and become a great football or baseball player. Steroids have shown good results in recovery from injury as well as increased muscle building. If steroids can help a person heal faster , athletes could take them to get back in good health and back on the field or court. Isn’t that what sports have become? Entertainment. Professional sports are just for entertainment, so if steroids got the biggest names back out there then that’s more money for them it’s like Hollywood. It’s all about the money end of story. So why not raise the level of play and get the best players and biggest names back out there? It means more money in their pockets and more entertainment for fans. It could be a good thing for the professional sports organizations. For example in baseball it means more home runs which is more entertaining for fans it would bring more excitement and bring out huge crowds. In basketball it would make athletes more explosive more dunks and more entertainment. Football more level playing field so all the teams could have a legit shot at a super bowl. Fans pay outrageous amounts of money to watch their favorite players. If steroids can help with healing time then those players are more likely to be in the game. As I mentioned before, sports are big business. Athletes are paid huge amounts of money to put on a show. They better they perform, the more people will want to attend their games. People pay for the entertainment and entertainment is big business. If steroids were legalized it would create more money and less hassle for professional sports. It would create jobs making steroids as safe as possible it could create a huge industry. Since steroids were banned there has not been enough continued scientific research. They were instantly labeled as “ bad”. What if there is a chance that steroids could have some positive effects? Has there been extensive studies to show how bad steroids are? Is there any research showing that in a controlled environment they can actually be helpful? These are questions that should have been answered before completely banning all substances. Anabolic steroids are used everywhere, for example some actors in Hollywood use them to get bigger and put on muscle mass. Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to using steroids back in the 1970s during his successful body building career. Many professional athletes have used anabolics and only a few have been caught. For example Lance Armstrong got caught taking testosterone and got all 7 of his Tour de France titles and medals stripped and taken out of the record books. But how many of the people he raced against were doping at the same time? This goes back to my first argument, shouldn’t everyone be tested? In my opinion, there is a good chance that many other racers were doing steroids during the time that Lance Armstrong was. He was tested and stripped of his medals but what about the other athletes? Was he being made an example of? He is a big name figure with tons of success and now will be remembered for cheating instead of dominating. I also wonder about his miraculous recovery when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Is it possible that his steroid use helped him heal? That should definitely be researched. Another example is Mark McGuire, a heavy hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He was breaking home run hitting records left and right. This was providing tons of entertainment for baseball fans at the time. Now he is remembered for cheating instead of dominating. It makes me wonder about other baseball players at that time that didn’t get tested. Track and field is arguably the sport with the most doping and performance enhancers used. Marion Jones is another example of someone testing positive for performance enhancing drugs while winning race after race. She was one of the greatest stories in Olympic track history after winning 5 gold medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She admitted her use in 2007 making her lose all of her medals and having her reputation ruined and labeled as a “ cheater” forever. But if you tested all the athletes in those Olympic games who knows how many more would test positive and be in the same situation as Jones. It isn’t right to single out just one athlete because he or she is successful. Test all or none. Each of those athletes was doing what we expect them to do, entertain. They are now known as cheaters when along with their steroid use, was tons and tons of hard work. I’m sure there are many others that used performance enhancing drugs and were never caught. Athletes in every sport take performance enhancers to be the best because it’s all about money. A little damage to your body, it could be worth it for the fame and being rich that’s the personal athlete’s decision. If every athletes had the choice of taking performance enhancing drugs it would be outstanding to see records broken, especially in track and field. People would be getting what they want, entertainment and the athlete would get what they want, fame and fortune. But I don’t think it would be that bad because it is all for entertainment and for TV ratings. People want to see a show and why wouldn’t you want to see athletes at the highest possible level maxing their bodies out to the very most of human abilities, I think it would be fun to watch. The ratings would go up and that makes money and everyone likes money. Have the athletes on a specific dosage prescribed by doctors and nothing more so all athletes take the same small dosage and it would still depend on ability and hard work to determine the best. The enhancers would only raise the ultimate level of their potential. This could be done in a safe and healthy way. It could create jobs and maybe even help cure some terrible diseases.
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