There are many temptations for a modern day athlete which so easily turn heads; the lure of multi-million pound contracts and sponsorship deals or even the continuous opportunities to dip a toe into the corrupt way in which the sporting world is ran are both chronic problems, but none are more prevalent or influential than the substances which have the ability to superficially transform the body to an unstoppable and machine like beast.
It is a common misconception that ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), with many believing one singular substance is responsible for the manipulation of a mortal being into a superhuman, but it is the vast range of assorted and varying nature of such PEDs, which has created the uncontrollable and rife epidemic transpiring through all sports at the elite level.
Just the word ‘drug’ itself has a plethora of negative connotations, most mainly related to the recreational type prominent in everyday society, but PEDs are different, with many prescribed pain killers being on the list of banned substances in certain sports and EPOs for example, the PED which notorious drug cheat Lance Armstrong took and thrived off for most of his then illustrious career, are used often to treat anemia and types of cancer – drugs in sport are not the same as the ones that get so many across the UK put into prison, but the repercussions are just as, or even more detrimental.
The once seven-time winner of the most prestige cycling event on the planet, cancer survivor and inspiration to the mass, Lance Armstrong, was the highest profile case of drug cheating in sport, up until the summer of 2016 where accusations that the majority of the Russian athletics team had been competing in past Olympic games under the influence of PEDs merely added one extra unnecessary nail into the coffin containing credibility, legitimacy and morality in sport.
A scandal which should’ve sent shockwaves through the world and left gobs smacked globally had completely the opposite effect – the only shocking element being a scandal of this magnitude taking so long to surface there is such a widespread problem of drugs in sport. What followed was the suspension of the Russian Olympics athletics team and the entire Russian Paralympic team from competing at the Rio 2016 games due to the state sponsored doping, but this farce punishment won’t change anything as there is such a universal problem throughout all levels of sport meaning for it to get better, it still must get so much worse.
With scandal after scandal leading a situation where careers and nations are so easily tarnished, whether clean or not, no professional athlete wants to hear rumors of their involvement with a drugs defamation. National treasures such as Bradley Wiggins and Mo Farah have been caught up in such whirlwind scandals, and whilst later proven to be clean, the legacy of such great giants will forever be tainted by their names being linked with performance enhancing drugs – it’s that poisonous.
The way in which sport has changed from events played out by humble and modest sportsmen and women, into a money fueled corporate business which aims to continuously reel highly marketable megastars off the conveyor belt in an attempt to produce the most profit – in turn, for the elite sport stars this has led to a situation making the desire to bend the rule books and achieve victory (or in Layman’s terms cheat), all the more glamorous and excusable.