10 Performance-enhancing Drugs That Aren't SteroidsSelf-medication with anabolic steroids by athletes, particularly in the sports of weight lifting and track and field, keep track steroids become increasingly popular. In the Pan American Games, 15 athletes were disqualified for taking anabolic steroids. Athletes take steroids believing the steroids will allow increased periods of intensive training and will increase muscle strength with keep track steroids weight training. The athletes assume this increased strength and training will translate into better athletic performance. Most athletes taking anabolic natural bodybuilding steroid use are taking very large doses with no thought as to the potential adverse side effects.
The use and abuse of anabolic steroids in Olympic-caliber athletes. - PubMed - NCBI
DeeDee Trotter was on an airplane in when she overheard a passenger seated behind her discussing the steroids scandal. I hated that and I gave him a little attitude. I do this with hard work, honesty and honor. My most profound disillusionment came from a one-time friend, Tyler Hamilton, my teammate on the University of Colorado cycling team. But in the days that followed, a new test implicated Hamilton for blood doping.
The evidence against him seemed indisputable, but the Tyler I knew in college was not a cheat or liar. So I asked him straight-out if he was guilty.
Last year, after being subpoenaed by federal investigators, Hamilton finally confessed and returned his medal. The downfall of Olympic heroes has cast a cloud of suspicion over sports. Doping, or using a substance to enhance performance, is nothing new. Contrary to romantic notions about the purity of Olympic sports, ancient Greeks ingested special drinks and potions to give them an edge, and at the Games, athletes downed potent mixtures of cocaine, heroin and strych- nine.
Then, in the Olympics, Danish cyclist Knut Jensen passed out during a race, cracked his skull and later died. The coroner blamed the death on amphetamines, and the case led to anti-doping rules. Drug testing began with the Games, with a goal to protect athlete health.
In addition to short-term damage, certain drugs also appear to increase the risk of heart disease and possibly cancer. The original intent of anti-doping rules was to prevent athletes from dropping dead of overdoses, but over the years the rules have come to focus just as intently on protecting the integrity of the Games.
These agencies oversee drug testing and work with Olympic organizers to manage testing at the Games. Previously, testing was carried out by the U. But governing bodies promote their sports, solicit sponsorship money and help deliver the astounding performances that fans crave. No sport wanted a dirty reputation, and officials were reluctant to tarnish their stars. Made famous by bodybuilders who use them to bulk up, anabolic steroids can also enhance recovery and allow endurance athletes to train harder with less rest.
After a track coach sent anti-doping officials a sample of the drug, scientists developed a specific test for it. The scandal implicated several dozen athletes. The original technique was for an athlete to withdraw blood and freeze it, then re-inject some just prior to competition.
The strategy became easier in with the approval of erythropoietin EPO as a medical treatment for anemia based on a naturally occurring hormone that spurs red blood cell production. When experts learned to detect illicit EPO use by athletes, dopers changed their doses to evade the test.
In , researchers unveiled a test to detect a blood transfusion from a donor—which is how Tyler Hamilton was caught blood doping at the Tour of Spain and the Athens Olympics. Elite athletes have used them illicitly to increase muscle mass and speed recovery. Insulin has become popular in recent years, but taken in the wrong dose, it can kill.
Sprinter and three-time Olympic medalist Alvin Harrison received a four-year suspension in after admitting to using six performance-enhancing drugs, including insulin and human growth hormone.
He kept his Olympic medals, which he won before the admitted doping. Also known as beta-2 agonists, salmeterol and clenbuterol act as muscle-building agents if taken in large doses. The drugs are detectable in urine. Hormone antagonists or modulators: A large dose of testosterone may stimulate a body to produce additional estrogen, with unwanted results in men such as enlarged breasts.
USADA slapped Houston-based cyclist Mitch Comardo with a two-year suspension in after he tested positive for tamoxifen, a drug that blocks estrogen. To stay ahead of testers, cheaters regularly turn to drugs still in development, often obtaining them on the black market. WADA is partnering with the pharmaceutical industry to develop tests to detect experimental drugs. Olympic organizers plan to conduct 5, drug tests—an unprecedented number—during the London Games.
Nearly half of the 14, athletes competing, including all medalists, will be taken aside after their event and brought to a private testing room. It sounds impressive, but competition-day testing is not especially effective.
Athletes can easily load up on anabolic steroids to increase their muscle mass and allow themselves to work harder during training, then stop before an event to test clean, says Daniel Eichner, executive director of the WADA-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City.
Similarly, EPO continues to enhance performance long after the drug can be detected in the body. Athletes must keep anti-doping agencies apprised of their whereabouts via a confidential system they can access from the Internet and smartphones.
Through candid discussions with reformed dopers, officials keep tabs on the unexpected ways that illicit drug users enhance performance. Endurance athletes such as marathon runners and distance swimmers use them, at low doses, to train harder with less rest.
The agency can also catch past cheaters. WADA rules permit samples to be stored for up to eight years so they can be subjected to new tests that are developed well after an event. The IOC will soon retest samples from the Games. This kind of retrospective testing cost Rashid Ramzi his 1,meter run gold medal from the Olympics after he came up positive for CERA months after the Games had ended.
Had Ramzi known that the test was imminent, he might have abstained. Traditional tests are like police radar—easily avoided if you know when to be on the lookout, Eichner says. The blood passport, which was developed first, analyzes blood samples over the course of a season to flag discrepancies that indicate doping. For instance, the passport tracks levels of newly formed red blood cells, called reticulocytes.
Taking a drug like EPO that promotes red blood cell production creates a rapid increase in reticulocyte numbers, while blood transfusions cause reticulocytes to drop, as the body shuts down its own blood cell production. Hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen in the blood, also rises and falls in response to various blood-doping regimens, so testers can keep tabs on its levels to look for signs of doping.
A growing challenge, Howman says, is organized crime. WADA has to make sure that stops. Tygart says athletes have been talked out of confessing to illicit drug use by lawyers who would earn more in a lengthy litigation process. Track standout Michelle Collins was shocked the first time that someone in her inner circle offered her THG, a steroid designed to evade drug tests.
The Olympic sprinter and former world champion was told the drug would make her stronger and speed recovery after training. Tygart recalls seeing her after her confession. Her whole posture and personality was completely changed. When the Olympics begin this summer, all eyes will focus on the medal counts and podium ceremonies. While those who fall short of a medal may comfort themselves in having fought a good fight, the truth is, winning still matters.
In the world of sports, nothing commands greater regard than an Olympic gold medal. Yet the question remains, at what cost? Will that shiny gold medal represent integrity and sportsmanship, or a value system that puts winning ahead of everything else? This is a question that the athletes themselves must answer. I believe Trotter, because I believe that authenticity still exists in sports.
Trotter won the bronze medal in the meter race at the London Olympics, wearing her "Test Me, I'm Clean" wristband For every medal-stealing fraud like Tyler Hamilton or Marion Jones, there are other athletes who choose to do the right thing. The Olympics still provide a stage for human excellence.
But it will take athletes like Trotter standing up to the doping culture. The fight against doping is nothing less than a culture war, one that can be won only from within. Subscribe or Give a Gift. The Packhorse Librarians of the Great Depression.
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