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The Impact of Performance Enhancing Drugs on the Olympics

The use of performance enhancing drugs is undermining the integrity of the Olympic games. It is impossible to accurately determine the number of athletes who use them, but it is believed that a substantial percentage do. According to an anonymous Soviet coach, “Perhaps 90% of sportsmen, including our own, use drugs” (CASA 40). One reason it is difficult to determine how many athletes “dope” is that in international events like the Olympics, the methods used to detect the use of these drugs simply are not effective. So, although only a few athletes are caught, many benefit from their use of performance enhancing drugs. It is unfortunate and unacceptable that such high level competition be marred by athletes’ drug use. The inefficiency of drug testing in the Olympics is a problem, and methods for drug testing must be improved.

There are many types of performance enhancing drugs. One common form of performance enhancing drugs is anabolic steroids. As of the 2000 Olympics, there were a total of thirty-six different types of anabolic steroids (Zorpette 17). Anabolic steroids can be defined as “synthetic versions of testosterone, tweaked so that they can be taken orally, or so that they persist in the body” (Zorpette 17). The use of anabolic steroids is prohibited by all “major sports organizations”, such as professional sports organizations in individual countries, as well as international committees, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which runs the Olympic Games (Simon 74). Anabolic steroids enhance athletes’ performance by stimulating muscle growth. By increasing one’s muscle mass, a person gains physical advantages, like being able to run faster and jump higher (Cosell 310). Like al…

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… New York: Simon

Performance-enhancing Drugs and Steroids

Ever since Mark McGwire, a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, broke the home run record of Roger Maris, a New York Yankee outfielder best known for hitting sixty-one home runs in 1961, the media has been frantic. This frenzy is not only about McGwire’s accomplishment of hitting a Herculean seventy home runs but is about another subject, performance-enhancing drugs.

Mark McGwire is not only using creatine, but he is also taking androstenedione. Creatine is an amino acid that fuels muscle contraction and is produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas (Schrof 54). Androstenedione is produced in the body by the gonads and adrenal glands in small amounts. It is a sex steroid hormone that the body converts to testosterone, a natural anabolic (muscle building) steroid and performance-enhancer (“Hazard Alert” 143). Examples of other performance boosters include chromium, pyruvate, and anabolic-androgenic steroids. All of these supplements aid the body in building and repairing muscle; however, some have more prominent effects than others do. The ensuing dilemma over McGwire is whether or not his breaking of the home run record was aided by drug use. This past summer, the American College of Sports Medicine issued that “the verdict is still out on the safety of creatine supplementation, especially over long periods of time” (Condor 3D). However, the American College of Sports Medicine has no official position about androstenedione, which is banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) but allowed by the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball (Condor 3D).

There are two basic viewpoints on…

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…rts Illustrated 20 April 1998: 58-61.

Bender, David and Bruno Leone, ed. Sports in America: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1994.

Condor, Bob. “Price of power, glory.” The Greenville News 10 September 1998: 1D .

Gower, Timothy. “Eat Powder! Build Muscle! Burn Calories!” Esquire (Feb. 1998): 113.

“Hazard Alert.” People Weekly Oct. 12, 1998: 143-145.

“How the Experts View Androstenedione.” The Washington Post 20 October 1998: 13Z .

Schrof, Joannie M. “McGwire hits the pills: brawn building supplements also deliver serious risks.” U.S. News

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