Drug usage has become a very sensitive yet significant part in the world of athletic competition. Hundreds of these athletes use performance-enhancing chemical substances in order to have stronger stamina and strength which they could not and will not achieve by training and healthy eating for the simple reason that they want to get ahead of everybody else regardless of the consequences. The most popular type of drugs for these athletes are the so-called anabolic steroids.
These substances imitate the production and effects of testosterone in the body by building muscle mass and generating undue advantage. Medical experts provide that these steroids have serious damaging side effects. For one, it increases the cholesterol level thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. The oral intake of steroids is also linked with liver cancer and for teenagers and youngsters, steroids stop bone growth (Gerdes). Most athletes feel that using performance-enhancing drugs is completely worth it when it comes to boosting their athletic career.
Unfortunately, this statement did not hold true for Ben Johnson. He was the gold medal winner for the 100 meter dash in the 1988’s Seoul Olympic but he was sent home because he was caught using steroids. Sample traces of his urine showed positive for Stanozol, which is an anabolic steroid. He was banned from entering all kinds of sports competition for two years and he was also stripped of all the awards that he received. Even assuming for the sake of argument that he was cleared of this offense, people will always suspect him of cheating every time he enters any competition.
He did come back in the field in 1991 but he never got back on his foot and in 1993 when his tests results prove positive of steroids, the International Association of Athletic Federations ultimately barred him from ever racing again. Based on the circumstances, one can therefore conclude that this event effectively ruined his career (“1988: Johnson stripped of Olympic Gold”). There are some people, on the other hand, that suggest the legalization of performance-enhancing drug usage. They contend that the discretion as to its usage should be left for the better judgment of the athletes.
Furthermore, Norman Fost, a pediatrics professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical school commented that no athlete is playing on his natural ability alone and that many types of sports are associated with the risk of injury anyway. To prohibit these athletes from the risk of them being harmed is a great inconsistency, he said. In order to rebut this argument, a director of sports medicine responded sarcastically and suggested that if that is the case, then all drugs should be therefore legalized (Gerdes). The one thing in common that these drug users have in mind is winning.
They should bear in mind that at the end of the day, sports is still sports and winning is not much important as having a health body. Looking back at history books, it can be observed that the people during the old times organized the very first sports competition for amusement and fun and even until today, that purpose still remains. For instance, baseball is called the America’s number one past time, with emphasis on the word past time. It is understandable for these athletes to desire fame and popularity but not at the expense of their health because no matter what the cost is, no amount of price or prestige will replace its value.
If the two sides of this argument is weighed, the scales would still tilt in favor of anti-drug use because no matter where a person puts it, these drugs will ultimately destroy the lives of these athletes one way or another and in doing so, they take away the one thing that all Americans have in common when it comes to sports; the love of the game.
“1988: Johnson stripped of Olympic Gold”. (2005). BBC. 26 July 2009 <http://news. bbc. co. uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/27/newsid_2539000/2539525. stm> Gerdes, L. Performance- Enhancing Drugs: An Overview. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. 2008.