I am certainly a great sporting enthusiast. I love nothing more than to watch a great sporting encounter, no matter which sport. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for sportsmen and women to use substances to aid their performance. That is not to say all competitors use illegal substances, however when competitors start to use illegal substances, they ridicule the whole ethos of sport and competition. I cannot see the point of people competing when they are using a substance which is bound to give themselves an unfair advantage over other competitors, who are rying their level best to win fairly.
I can’t see how it cannot be worse to run a race fairly than cheat and artificially enhance a performance by taking drugs. In 1992 John Mcewick, was one of the most promising shot putter’s in Britain, he took the silver medal in the all Britain games and at just 22 years of age, hopes were high for his future. However just 6 years later, he found himself totally isolated from the sport and unable to continue. Why you may say? Was it a great injury sustained? Was it a financial problem he faced? Did he lose interest in the sport? None of these actually. The only problem John Mcewick faced was a moral one.
Unfortunately John Mcewick believed that sport was something that tested the combination of natural ability, training and determination and not the determination to do anything to win, even if it meant abusing their own bodies. What am I talking about, well John Mcewick was encouraged by people in the sport including his trainer to take substances such as steroids to improve his performances and to keep up with the majority of shot putters. When he refused to risk amaging his body with the possible effects of such illegal substances, John Mcewick found himself in a terrible position.
He simply couldn’t compete with other athletes who were becoming stronger and better than ever before. He also found that his trainer and main sponsor would no longer support him, because of his refusal to take such performance enhancing drugs. This seems terribly harsh treatment for a man who in 1992 was heralded as one of Britain’s medal hopes for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. However in the space of a couple of years, this man went from being a talented prospect, to being a an, not capable of keeping up with other athletes, who he surpassed only years before. Surely, this type of situation is wrong.
Why should John Mcewick be forced out of the sport he love, merely because he refused to put his body in danger, because he refused to give into the pressure of others, perhaps John Mcewick has lost out in terns of medals and money but he has definitely made up for this, showing tremendous character. It seems the case of John Mcewick is not alone as far as a coach encouraging their prodigy to take drug’s. Swimming has seen a spate of drug related incidents. It has been reported that in the 1980’s Russian female swimmers were being injected with the male hormone testosterone.
The athletes were given no choice as to whether or not to take the hormone, if they didn’t they would be out of the national team. The women involved were given huge performance boosts, and Russia was looked upon as one of the strongholds in sporting excellence. However, eventually the women suffered terrible side effects ranging from deepening of the women’s voice and the growth of hair in unusual places for a women, to the women never being able to have children. Unfortunately the women involved never knew of the consequences.
More recently the Chinese female swimming team were found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs after a national swimming meeting in Australia. It is not always the fault of the athlete often the pressures of friends, family, the media make athletes take illegal substances. I am a firm believer that athletes should be warned of the dangers of drug taking and should be protected from themselves. In a recent BBC documentary an anonymous rugby player reported that 90 percent of all remiership rugby union players use some diet supplement to enhance their performance.
Most of these substances are said to have unknown effects. It is important that athletes realise, no matter how important the sport is, the their health has to be of paramount importance. Athletes need to be warned, not encouraged to take drugs. If 90 percent of all rugby players take drugs, one can only speculate of the high proportion of players who take drugs in other higher profile sports such as football. Although everyone is tested for rugs both by the clubs and the football association there are some substances an athlete can take which do not show up on a drug test.
Surely taking drug’s ruins the entire principles of sport, dating back to the Greeks in 500BC. Back then sport went hand in hand with honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, it seems some, not all, athletes these days are prepared to win no matter what cost; it might incur on their integrity, public perception and their bodies. Doesn’t taking drug’s, make sport pointless; if one athlete decides to train hard for a race, whilst another decides to not do as much training, but to upplement his training with some kind of drug.
If the athlete who took drugs wins the race, it doesn’t mean a thing, it’s just not a true representation of the two people’s athletic ability, it goes against every ethic of sport ever laid down 2500 years ago. Any athlete who is taking drug’s to help themselves is disgracing themselves, their family but their country. Even if it is in a sport not connected with the country it still makes that country look bad. Other countries will soon begin to look doubtfully on all of the athletes in that country.
Because of this countries are having to set up expensive drug testing facilities, just to keep an air of integrity. It cost’s the country so much more money to fund these testing facilities, that they cannot support the real athletes, those who want to train to win, those that want to practice to succeed not those who want an easy option of drugs. All in all drugs in sport, look to be becoming more and more popular. I just hope they go away as quickly as they came in. But, with all the excitement and with the lucrative nature of sport, it’s hard to see drug’s disappearing anytime soon.