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Ethical Dilemma Of Doping In Sports

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The use of drugs in sport is a very controversial and ethical topic. Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are substances, commonly used by athletes to improve their performance. There is evidence of PEDs existing in sports from as early as the ancient Olympic games held in Olympia, Greece from 776BC – 393 AD. However, during the mid-1900s, particularly after the Second World War, doping and PEDS started to become more common amongst athletes. Today doping is quite popular in the sporting world, making drug testing a common procedure. The use of drugs in sport is currently illegal, however, there is a large ethical debate revolving around the legalisation of using drugs in sport.

There are a range of reasons why people believe that using drugs in sport should be legal. By using performance-enhancing drugs, the human body can be pushed to its limits, making the sport more exciting to watch. Steroids and stimulants, for instance, anabolic steroids, ephedrine, methamphetamine and caffeine are used by athletes to help them perform to the best of their ability. Athletes, particularly cyclists, weightlifters and boxers use steroids to mimic natural testosterone production. Steroids increase muscle mass and strength, therefore, improving athletic performance. Stimulants are energy enhancers, meaning they increase the activity of the central nervous system ultimately increasing focus, endurance and speed.

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Doping is a common matter in professional cycling. Former professional road racing cyclist, Lance Edward Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times. He denied his use of PEDs in cycling for multiple years, however, in January 2013 he admitted that he used erythropoietin, diuretics, human growth hormone and took part in blood doping. Professional cycling has the highest average level of doping findings. By using performance-enhancing drugs, athletes have a higher chance of success because they have an advantage over other competitors. PEDs increase skill level, making sporting events more entertaining to watch. Some people believe that if doping was legal and all athletes took performance-enhancing, the playing field will be even for all players and at a higher level.

On the other hand, there is a range of reasons against the legalisation of drugs in sport. Firstly, taking drugs in sport is against the law. In the case that an athlete is tested positive for doping, violations can include the “disqualification of results at an event, including forfeiture of medals, a ban from all sport (competing, training or coaching) for up to four years or even life in repeat, and in the most serious cases a publication of your anti-doping rule violation.” – Drugfree Sport NZ. Doping and taking PEDs gives the athlete an unfair advantage over the rest of the competitors. Allowing drugs in sports promotes a dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle that defeats the spirit of sport. Sport involves fair play, honesty, teamwork, respect and enjoyment, and by using drugs, an athlete can wipe out all aspects of the spirit of sport, lessening the outstanding talent from natural athletes. Taking drugs is considered cheating/unfair and the athlete can be viewed with less respect, ultimately lessening the enjoyment of the performance. As mentioned earlier, Lance Armstrong committed the biggest doping scandal ever recorded in cycling history. He repeatedly denied the fact that he had been doping for slightly over a decade.

In 2012 the United States Anti-Doping Agency filed doping charges against Lance, and the Union Cycliste Internationale strips his seven Tour De France titles and bans him for life. Armstrong said in 2013: ‘All the fault and all the blame here falls on me. I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. I made my decisions. They are my mistakes, and I am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I’m sorry for that.’

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Ethical Dilemma Of Doping In Sports. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Ethical Dilemma Of Doping In Sports.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Ethical Dilemma Of Doping In Sports. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Ethical Dilemma Of Doping In Sports [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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