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Drug Testing Among Elite Athletes

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Drug testing should be more conscientiously enforced among elite athletes, as it will prevent cheating, settle arguments about whether athletes are using these drugs or not. Enforcing these laws and rules will also help keep elite competitions a safe and fair environment. Many athletes at high levels use PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) to help with physical fitness and endurance. Some athletes do not follow the World Anti-Doping Agency, and do not get correct consequences in return. Although these drugs can help with performance they are potentially harmful to your body and could have negative side effects.

Many elite and Olympic athletes use or have used PEDs in the past. Most track athletes use steroids and amphetamines. Steroids build muscle mass and reduce body fat, many sprinters take this drug to build muscle on their legs. Amphetamines boost blood flow, improve endurance and build speed. Justin Gatlin was caught cheating with amphetamines in 2001 and got an initial two year ban which was later reduced to one year. The ban was reduced to one year after he appealed that the positive test has been due to his ADD medication. Gatlin stated later on “Other people in the sport have taken the same medication I had for ADD and only got warnings, I didn’t.” There is some sympathy shown for this athlete as he was taking medication for a health disorder, until he got caught with using testosterone as well. Justin Gatlin is not the only one who has used or use banned substances in athletics, he is just one of the more present athletes in the sport of Track and Field. An anonymous survey, of thousands found that 57% of world class athletes admitted to using PEDs in the year of 2017. Many athletes do need to use some of these drugs for medical disorders, but they are held accountable if not discussed ahead of testing.

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There are thousands of world class athletes who compete at very high levels, and some do not know or follow the rules correctly. The International Olympic Committee informs all athletes in their code “Athletes and other persons shall be responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation.” Therefore if athletes do not know the anti-doping code that is their responsibility to know or read the rules. In the World Aniti Doping Agency (WADA) code it states “it is his or hers responsibility to make sure no prohibited substances enter their body.” Knowing this athletes should be aware of the banned substances and anything that enters their body. Many high level athletes say they “don’t know” the rule violations, since this is their duty to know the rules they are responsible for what comes back in their results. If a prohibited substance comes back in the results positive, the athlete with face a ban or fine according to the drug found. You can appeal to the ban but have a small chance to get the ban fully removed.

The drugs used among athletes are illegal in the sport world and are potentially harmful for your body. Side effects of these drugs include; cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, heart stroke and blood clots. Not only do these drugs have health effects but it also has physical effects. Physical effects in men may include; breast enlargement, lower sperm count, high sex drive, decreased sexual performance. Physical effects in women may include; growth of facial hair, development of deeper voice, abnormal or absent menstrual cycle and infertility. Although the physical side effects are in most cases un harmful, they can be unwanted. Steroids are one of the drugs that boost testosterone to create more muscle mass and endurance, that is why women often develop more manly traits after taking the drugs. Not only do these drugs give unwanted changes to the body but they are also illegal. Steroids and any type of PED are banned from the sport world. Steroids are illegal in both the world of sports and in general without a doctors prescription. Some medications however have more leeway, as they are used for medical conditions approved by WADA.

If WADA enforced rules like they should and have less athletes as many chances, there would be less controversy as to which athlete is or is not using the drugs. I do understand that it is the athletes own life choice to do these drugs, but it isn’t a smart or healthy choice. Considering you can suffer severe medical issues from these drugs many people still use them. They use them because they want to win, and hold and Olympic medal. In reality the athletes using PEDs banned by the Olympic organizations are cheating, and should be held accountable. The many consequences that come with using drugs in sports in general; bans, fines, stripping of medals and even complete suspensions. Many health effects, and people considered cheating. Is it all really worth the consequences in the end?

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Drug Testing Among Elite Athletes. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Drug Testing Among Elite Athletes.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Drug Testing Among Elite Athletes [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
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