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The War on Sports Doping

Jul 18, 2008
Despite the ideals of good sportsmanship and fair play that were introduced to us as children, sometimes we just don't learn. The reality is that the pull of fame and fortune of being a sports champion is too much of a lure for dishonest athletes. To obtain the accolades and all the trappings associated with being a winner, cheaters will try to tilt the advantage in their favor by using performance enhancing drugs. Unfortunately, cheaters have always been one step ahead in the game of cat and mouse with the anti-doping agency that tests them for banned substances. However, it promises to be a different story for the upcoming Olympic Games as more sophisticated tests have been introduced. Methods of doping that was once impossible to detect are now turning up positive. The war against cheaters is on so expect a lot of disgraced athletes to be sent home early.

In anticipation of what doping offenses the athletes will be caught with, here's a common list of substances athletes use to cheat.

Steroids

Anabolic steroids are perhaps the most well known performance enhancing substance. Many athletes have been caught using this type of hormones to increase muscle mass, strength and physique. It also has the ability to help heal injuries quicker.

EPO

Erythropoietin or EPO as it is more commonly called is a hormone that is made in the liver and kidneys to produce red blood cells. A synthetic version is also used by athletes to increase their stamina. Since red blood cells carry oxygen it provides an obvious advantage in endurance competitions.

Human Growth Hormone

As the name implies, the human growth hormone is a hormone that stimulates growth. It also has the ability to stimulate cell reproduction. It is therefore no wonder that athletes will try to replicate the same effects of this hormone from an external source. HGH helps to pack on the muscles and to decrease recovery time from strenuous workouts.

The above performance enhancing substances are all synthetic versions of naturally found hormones within the body. However, these are not the only substances that are being tested. Athletes are also very capable of abusing over the counter drugs as well. Cold medication could be used as a stimulant, acetaminophen to mask pain, alcohol to calm nerves, and diretics to cut weight. The list is extensive to ensure fair competition.

Given all the ways to cheat, it is no wonder that the anti-doping agency for sports had to improve their methods of detecting performance enhancing drugs. It will be with mixed emotions in the upcoming Olympics to see who gets caught. However, for those who competed hard but fairly, they will finally be recognized for all their accomplishments. They are the ones truly deserving of their glory.
About the Author
Mariam Ma is a writer for Olympic Blvd, a site that celebrates all things related to the Olympic Games. To celebrate the 29th Olympiad, check out the personalities of the Beijing Olympics FUWA mascots and buy Beijing Olympic FUWA mascot dolls.
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