Sports Doping among Elite Athletes Essay
The earliest doping records in sport can be traced from the Ancient Olympic Games when elite athletes reported using figs in enhancing their performance. Since this practice was not prohibited, there is a range of records of extents that athletes would go to win (Holt et al. 320). In 2016 Russia’s athletes were barred from taking part in the Olympics that were held in Rio de Janeiro because of the secret state program of giving Russian athletes steroids at the Sochi Olympics that were held in 2014 and concealing the evidence of cheating (Platonov 53). Despite being condemned by different bodies and scholars for exposing athletes to health risks and promoting unfairness in games, the benefits of sports doping are tremendous. As much as this may agree with the scholars’ anti-doping bodies, it is for the view that sports doping should be permitted for elite athletes. The essay, therefore, seeks to argue that, elite athletes should be allowed to use strength boosting drugs because they will gain more benefits as compared to the associated risks and limitations.Savulescu et al. argue that the primary rationale for banning steroids and other doping forms from athletics competitions is that performance enhancers affect the health of athletes negatively (666). As such, athletes who use drugs to boost their strength hurt themselves and achieve no benefits especially if their competitors also use drugs. However, people should be given the freedom to assume risks they feel are worthy. For example, if an athlete feels that it is better to endure the risks associated with using steroids and excel in sports, then they should not be barred from using steroids. After all, the government should not forbid athletes from taking risks to achieve their dreams the same way they have not banned cigarette smokers from taking health risks associated with smoking.
Some scholars blame sports doping for encouraging unfair competition. According to Savulescu et al. (667), athletes use steroids to be more competitive than their competitors unfairly. And if all athletes start using steroids, then rather than taking for example 10 grams, some athletes may take 20 or 30 grams, and this vicious circle may get bigger, resulting into a meaningless activity performed by a group of genetic mutant gladiators. However, no compelling argument supports this allegation. For instance, if improving performance was unfair, then coaching and training of athletes would also be banned. Different athletes receive training from different coaches and in different time zones among which some are more favorable for training activities than others. Besides, all athletes are not physically equal meaning some are naturally more energetic than others. If these factors were to be put into consideration, the competition would be limited to the athletes with the same body mass and energy level. Competition may only be unjust if athletes are not given an equal opportunity to access some enhancements and this can be solved by legalizing the drugs and ensuring that every athlete can access them freely.Fair play, ethics, and honesty are some of the values required in sports. As such, some Anti-Doping bodies view that doping is a form of cheating that goes against the principles of fairness and honesty. However, the same organizations are responsible for formulating rules and regulations that guide the sporting industry. Therefore, if they legalize drugs and make them accessible, dishonesty and unfairness would not exist (Savulescu et al. 668). Anti-doping agencies may prohibit a drug if it is considered as a health risk, performance enhancing or contradicts the spirit and values of sport. The spirit and values of sport are supported by some aspects like health, courage, and teamwork to name a few. The human sport also cannot be compared to other forms of recreational activities involving animals like dog racing because humans are free to make choices. Therefore they should be allowed to determine the way they want to compete and how they want to gain strength, which may include using drugs to boost their strength.
It may be true that using drugs may turn the sport into an expensive technology. However, Olympics is a business, and many countries have spent a lot of money in an attempt to make their athletes win. For example, Australia spent more than 547 million U.S. Dollars on sports funding and an additional amount of 13.8 million U.S. Dollars just in sending its team to Athens in the four years before the start of the Athens Olympics (Savulescu et al. 669). With this high funding, the Australian athletes managed to bring 17 gold medals home which was the highest in its history as at that time. On these figures, a single gold medal costs more than 32 Million U.S. Dollars, and Australia was ranked fourth in the medals tally even though it had the 52nd largest population in the world. Neither the Australian desert and flat landscape nor its multicultural heritage may have provided its citizens with particular advantages. They were able to win as they were willing to spend more.Paradoxically, legalizing the use of drugs by athletes can help in eliminating economic discrimination. Tents and hypoxic air machines may cost approximately 7000 U.S. Dollars. Sending athletes to train in high altitude areas may be very expensive. Arguably, this makes it impossible for poor athletes to afford the legal techniques of improving performance (Savulescu et al. 670). In this regards, it is the illegal techniques that can level the playing field. Therefore, instead of condemning sports doping, it should be legalized under medical supervision. Currently, it is difficult to determine the link between therapeutic and ergogenic use of drugs, leading to hard questions for sports doctors and the anti-doping agencies. Most of the times, anti-doping rules contribute to costly and complicated medical and administrative-follow-up to establish whether steroids used by athletes are legitimate or illicit therapeutics agents.
Sports doping should be permitted to elite athletes. The athletes should be given the freedom to choose the kind of competitors they want to be. They should also be allowed an opportunity to exploit their preferences because some athletes may value their success more than risks associated with using performance enhancements. Finally, doping does not make sport an activity for the rich. Sport is a business, and to achieve success, countries should be ready to spend more.