Sport and Performance Enhancing Drugs – PART 2

Tom Blackett   |  14/05/2015

Before I continue this blog let me first get clear that I do not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs, I just find the topic and stigmas surrounding it fascinating and also questionable – I hope the read proves interesting and informative.

Today I’m exploring the professionalisation of sport and the role it’s had in increasing the usage of performance enhancing substances.

Your comments and opinions are more than welcome!

The Professionalisation of sport

The relatively recent professionalisation of sport is another reason for the increasingly observable and obvious relationship between drugs and sport. Sport became progressively competitive throughout the twentieth century and there continues to be a growing emphasis on the need to win, particularly now that so many sportsmen and women participate on a professional basis.

It is often the case that large sums of money are at stake for the winner/winners of various sporting events. The Wimbledon tennis competition offered a gigantic £1,760,000 cheque to the winners of the singles last year (Wimbledon, 2014). The 2015 Masters Golf tournament offered an equally juicy sum of $1,800,000 to its victor (Augusta, 2015).

EVEN the 2015 World Darts Championship offered a £1,250,000 prize fund to the winner (Sky Sports, 2015)!  More money and more media attention have surely increased the temptation to dope, especially as the Lance Armstrong scandal revealed that there are ways to CONSISTENTLY pass WADA drug tests even if the athlete undergoing examination has doped.

Lance Armstrong took it one step further by making some adverts with Nike which will make you choke if you watch them now – he literally laughed in the faces of people accusing him of doping (despite the fact that he was a walking pharmacy).

Anyhow I digress, take a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sprinter for example – Muscle Week has suggested that if we are to assume that the athlete has a:

“testosterone ratio (testosterone: epitestosterone) of 1:1 which is considered to be normal, or average. The current WADA guidelines permit a ratio of up to 4:1. Given the fact that the only way for an NCAA sprinter to make any money sprinting is to win international competitions and garner endorsements, what reason could that NCAA sprinter possibly have for NOT quadrupling his testosterone ratio up to the maximum of 4:1? Using a number of undetectable steroid compounds, that same athlete would presumably see a major improvement in his sprint times without ever ‘testing positive” (MuscleWeek, 2012).

Can we therefore conclude that it is the sports which have remained AMATEUR that pose a true test to a competitor’s talent? Rather than those which have become professional where it has become more a test of which individual, club or team has paid the most for training, sports doctors, nutritionists etc.

Still think sport is a level playing field?

PART 3 coming soon!