Steroids in sports

The use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is just as popular and controversial as the events they are discovered and people who are known to be using or had used them.

The practice known as doping in sports, nevertheless, has been going on for centuries it has become the subject of numerous investigations, stories, and criticisms.

History of doping

The history of the performing-enhancing drugs began at the same time the Grecian Olympics came about sometime in the 776 BBC. According to Larry Brown, the writer of “Athletic Drug Testing,” even the word “doping” was derived from a popular juice of Greeks made of opium; it was then called doop.

Further, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post mentioned that competition for the Greeks was extremely tight, and cheating was eventually a commonplace, with fighters and sportsmen medicating on herbs and plants that were known to boost their performance.

But it wasn’t until the 19th century when these types of drugs and medications became even more pronounced. In 1886, a cyclist known as Arthur Linton suddenly died while on a race. Though many claimed he was suffering from typhoid fever, hush-hush stories suggested even more menacing: he was taking a stimulant called trimethyl.

Three years after, Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard experimented on the fluids found on certain animals which he later claimed to be excellent in rejuvenation after a self-injection.  During World War II and Hitler’s era, tales talked about how the Nazis and even Hitler himself used testosterones and their derivatives to enhance the performance of the soldiers and to alleviate the lives of those in concentration camps. Hitler also took advantage but unfortunately suffered from the common side effects such as delusions and suicidal tendencies. It was also during this time that anabolic steroids were first heard of.

After the war, a doctor by the name of John Ziegler experimented and “perfected” testosterone-centric drugs, which were then given to USSR athletes competing for powerlifting. Two years after, Dianabol was created and was sold in the U.S. market, given American athletes access to anabolic steroids.

But athletes were not depending on anabolic steroids only. As revealed by George Walsh in his article entitled “Our Drug-Happy Athletes” in Sports Illustrated, competitors were also taking tranquilizers, amphetamines, and even cocaine. By 1969, the same magazine published a series of articles, predicting that very soon this practice will be more well-known, common, and serious.

True enough, it became a pandemic WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) was established in 1999, and by 2000 large steps were taken to improve doping tests such as urinalysis.

Disciplines with the Most Steroid Use

Steroids and other forms of performance-enhancing drugs are being used in almost all types of sports. But, an independent nonprofit public charitable organization, released a report that listed down the sports with the most number of doping cases from 1968 to 2010.

Claiming the no. 1 sport is weightlifting, followed by track and field, cross-country skiing, and equestrian. The sports with the least number are baseball, gymnastics, swimming, basketball, and sailing.

Interestingly, though a lot of the doping news focused on Germans and Chinese, the country with the most number of cases for the same period is Austria, then Greece, Russia, and USA.

One thought to “Steroids in sports”

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