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Drugs Scandals in International Sports

Updated on April 13, 2016

A drug is a chemical substance which when riveted into a body can alter and rework the bodily functions which are normal. There are many drugs which are expelled in the area of sports if they are considered to deliver any bigoted benefit or give any health risk or they in any way encroach upon the spirit of sport. Therefore, the using of this banned drug by the athletes is called as ‘doping’. It does irretrievable harm to sports and all athletes.

Now the use of drugs are not restricted to those who are addicted. The taking of illegal nd prohibited substances to improve and boost their performances is called doping. It has been divided into five types/classes. Though they are performance-enhancing, they have copious health risks and are debarred governing bodies in sports arena. The five types of Doping classes are


2. Anabolic agents steroids

3. Diuretics

4. Narcotic analgesics

5. Peptides and hormones

The expression ‘Doping’ has its origin in the Dutch word ‘dop’ which was the name given to an alcoholic beverage which was made of grape skins. The main purpose was to make a stimulant which will heighten the ability of the Zulu warriors of South Africa. This term was not familiarized and was not a popular lingo until the late 19th century, the notion of using stimulated and artificial means to produce an extra advantage in competitions has existed ever since.

The use of drugs to remain or win the competition is not new to this century and has been carried for a long time. Experiments with food and body of athletes and animals was not so unique in ancient games. Also the medieval people were indulged in practices which were to improve vivacity. The eating of some special food or plants or consumation of some explicit drink was to increase fatigue and boost performance. World saw in the second half of the 19th century the beginning of use of modern drugs and medicines to build their performance and there was a significant growth in the same.


One will not be surprised by the question that whether international sport has any sincerity left provided the invocations and supplications left. What is seen is a series of international doping scandals in different areas and forms. One very probable reason is that there is a lot of money involved in 21st century sports and thus athletes will do more than anything to achieve and win it.

Certain states and governments contesting for the recognition in international sports, with no doubt, will bend some of their rules and procedures to get their name. With the high stakes, sponsors spending millions, services provided are unmatchable, doping has find its place in between it. It has become exclusive persuasive.


Doping is conflicting the spirit of sport as it dents the values, honesty and fair play. It damages sports on the aspect of social institution by going against the health promoting aspects. Legitimate practices should be used to enhance the performance of athletes and medical supervision and vigilance should not harm the athlete.

Now how the World Anti-Doping Agency defines the conception of ‘spirit of sport’ is by using a long list of words which are

1) Ethics, fair play and honesty

2) Health

3) Excellence in performance

4) Character and education

5) Fun and joy

6) Teamwork

7) Dedication and commitment

8) Respect for rules and laws

9) Respect for self and other participants

10) Courage

11) Community and solidarity.

  • Russia doping scandal: Unfolded

On 3rd December 2014, the German State Broadcaster ARD airs “Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia produces its winners which was a 60 minute documentary which said that it was state funded doping. Doping allegations were investigated by IAAF’s ethics commission. ARD airs new documentary which states "Doping - top secret: The shadowy world of athletics" based on Russian and Kenyan athletes. On 9th November 2015 WADA published its report claiming that Russia is guilty of state funded doping which meritoriously incapacitated the London 2012 Olympics. The Russian President Mr. Putin promised to take action and on November 13, 2015 the IAAF declared the suspension of ARAF with immediate effect.

The action of suspension will keep out the ARAF for an indefinite period which can also include the summer Olympics in Brazil 2016. There are dark clouds over Kenya too as committee thinks that there a lot of performance enhancing drugs being used. “It is a matter of concern to athletes and to WADA” says Mr. Pound who led the independent commission report of Russian athletes. There were various evidences produced and discovered and the report has reached to a conclusion that is spectacular in itself. It has called a lifetime ban for five Russian runners and WADA has also stated that there should be a ban on entire track and field Russian team from all the international competitions until the mess is cleaned up.

  • East Germany

The problem with drugs is huge and to a certain extent incurable. Ines Geipel, in the 1970s and 80s, was the victim of state-sponsored doping in the former East Germany. She has now became the President of the victim support group and she says that 70 percent of her companions suffer from psychological problems. Marie Kanitz was just 16 years old when she started taking vitamin pills, as told to her by coach, but she was consuming banned substance. The consequences are so severe that she is unable to have children but says that psychological effects are harsher to tolerate than the inner physical blemishing.

  • Tour de France

Approximately two thirds of the top ten finishers in Tour de France from 1998 to 2013 have encountered the indictments of consuming the performance enhancing drugs. There was a leak of blood tests which exposed that one in seven participants in athletics showed vastly redolent of doping.

The 1998 Tour de France is also called ‘Tour of Shame’ by some people. Due to its scandal, global attention was gained and it painted an exigent need for the creation of an international agency which was to be an independent body for crafting and enforcing a uniform standard regarding the definition, testing and other things involved in the doping for international sports. The disorganized governance was to be stopped.


A doping control program must not only be comprehensive but appropriate too. The sanctions must be buttressed with an education program specifically designed to promote the fair play and health competition. The corner stone should be the concept of strict liability and the nature of offences and restricted substances should be taken into account.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), was founded on 17th July 1982. It began in 1982 and became the first International Sporting Federation to prohibit doping. In its handbook it was stated that:

“Doping is the use of any stimulant not normally employed to increase

the poser of action in athletic competition above the average.”

The UCI, which is the International cycling Union announced a drug testing program in 1950 and the Nationale d’Education Physique, a French association, formed a Doping commission, still doping was not so noteworthy to be deliberated in public consciousness.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) created a Medical Commission in 1967 and sanctioned a ban on doping in 1968. It was shaped to face innumerable legal challenges and concoct clarifications. The Committee so created demarcated the list of Prohibited Substances and the first tests for stimulants were executed at the Winter Olympics in 1968. In 1974, steroids became detectable. International Sports Federations (IFs) also initiated doping controls at their own events and IAAF became the first International federation to accomplish methodical out-of-competition checks, which are considered the most operational and effective testing form. Various domestic authorities have taken control in their territories and some of them have banned it and is therefore also punishable. Many doping instances transpired in numerous parts of the world, and several governments declared their displeasure with the modern doping control situation. As a result, the International Olympic Committee called a conference in Lausanne in early 1999 with the participation of National Olympic Committees (NOCs), Government authorities, IFs, and athletes in order to meet anti-doping rules and regulations. More stringent measures were approved and “The Lausanne Declaration” was issued and the decision was made to establish The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with the participation of the IOC, IFs, and governments.

The World anti-Doping agency (WADA) was established in the year 1999 for the purpose of harmonizing the international anti-doping efforts. Within countries, domestic anti-doping agencies uphold their own systems. Its main aim is to ‘promote and co-ordinate the fight against doping in sport in all its forms at the international level’. It has a board which is comprises members between 10 and 35 from, chiefly, the Olympic movement and public authorities. This agency also took care of the role of publication of list which will comprise of prohibited substances and will be under the review continuously and formally updated on 1st of January every year. Now how the substance or method is taken in account on this list is that substance meets any two of the following three criteria: (i) it is performance enhancing (ii) it is dangerous to the athlete’s body (iii) it is contrary to the spirit of sport. The method or substance can also be added in the list if the agency sees that it is capable to facade the use of other substances or method so prohibited.

British Swimming which is the trading name of Amateur Swimming federation of Britain Ltd is the national governing body which is responsible for doping control says that there has to be consistency and therefore the doping rules and procedures laid down are to achieve the speedy and efficient resolution of cases, doping control rules drafted in a lucid fashion and extensively circulated, transparency, communication etc.

The 33rd session of United Nations educational, Scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) General conference held on 19th October 2005 solidly agreed to the International convention against doping in Sport making it the first universal anti-doping convention. The convention is a permissive document in which the compulsions are enunciated in a non-prescriptive manner and a commitment is required to commence the measures at both domestic and international levels unswerving with the code’s principles. The main objective is to blend and harmonize anti-doping efforts globally and most significantly to deliver a legal structure within which the governments can act and remove doping from the sport completely. Also the convention makes sure that governments give a legal vow to implement this. Also another important factor is that the convention provides flexibility in the approach and governments can take into account the convention by way of legislation, regulation or policies. The State parties have a mandate to curb the availability of verboten substances or methods, to support the national testing programs and the control doping, also to withhold the financially and personnel support to the athletes who are indulged in anti-doping violations, also to encourage the producers and distributers for nutritional supplements for the establishment of best practice and support the anti-doping vision and education. There were some samples which were scrutinized in 2004, says the WADA statistics, which showed that 1.72 % of all the samples, which were analyzed, were positive for prohibited substances, 2.13% in 2005, 1.96% in 2006, 1.97% in 2007, 1.84% in 2008 and 2.02% in 2009.

If one is taking harmful drugs but they are not enhancing the performance or violating the spirit of sports then one is not doping according to the Anti-Doping Agency’s definition, for example tobacco. Therefore, under the current mechanism, caffeine is not illegal although it helps in increasing the performance and also helps to activate the fat stores of the athlete and upturns fortitude.

Olympic drug cheat

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