Why Steroids were used in Olympics

Increased Doping at the Olympics

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the amount of doping at the Olympics. Charles Lucas, an Olympic chronicler and a physician, said that it was with the aid of drugs that Charles Hicks, a British-American athlete, brought the marathon honors to America in 1904 after he won the Olympics marathon with the help of strychnine and brandy. The doctor continued by saying that Hicks’ performance had shown how beneficial medicines were to players while they were competing. The positive attitude towards the use of medical supplements among the athletes continued for decades until in 1941, when Peter Karpovich, an American expert in exercise physiology argued in writing that consumption of substances or devices that enhance physical activity of an individual without jeopardizing him or her can hardly be termed unethical. Even after declaring the use of steroids an unethical practice in athletics, the road to success among the Russian athletes has been full of doping scandals. For a couple of decades, since the Cold War, the Russians have focused on emerging ahead of the American athletes, an ambition that has been hard to accomplish without the use of steroids.

Transition of Drugs in Sports

Drugs started their transition from the tool of an athlete’s trade to an instrument of moral decadence in 1960, when Knud Enemark Jensen, a cyclist from Denmark died at the Rome Olympics. Despite the fact that the autopsy report indicated that he only had a stroke, deeper investigations into his death showed that he had consumed amphetamines, which could have been the main reason for his death. The demise of this Danish cyclist assisted in precipitating medical conferences of drugs in sports during the early 1960s. However, even before the incidence at the Rome Olympics, the crude nationalism had also taken over the Coubertin’s glittering and pure dream of the ancient Olympism. Hitler spectacled a lot of propaganda in the Berlin games held in 1936 as a proof of the German greatness. Later, the Cold War upgraded the level of sporting nationalism.

Russian Athletes and Doping

The past research indicates that for a long time, the Russians have been caught injecting their athletes with steroids for energy supplement during sports. It had been speculated that the former Soviet Union spent a couple of decades researching on the best plant that would be productive in enhancing energy to their astronauts and soldiers. The Soviets sought for adaptogens, which is a plant species encouraging the body to adapt to the mental and physical stress without contraindications. Studies have also mapped out that the Russians have gone through a series of the evolution of drug use among their athletes. Over time, they graduated from using the herbs that supplemented their energy during the cold war to over-the-top synthetic substances. Unfortunately, injecting themselves with such substances has caused them a considerable loss since they have lost countless of their athletes on doping. The medical research shows that the use of steroids is more forceful as compared to the use of adaptogens. Steroids have the tendency of building powerful muscles quickly as well as upgrading unusual energy amounts. However, doping can also have serious negative effects such as “Roid Rage” (excessive aggression), development of the breast tissues among men, and not limited to liver damage.

Ethics of Doping in Sports

Even so, vast of the experiments held in Russia do not hold up to the existing scientific standards. Since the 1960s, burgeoning studies have been conducted on some of the substances that athletes have been using to boost their energy during sports including the steroids and the Rhodiola. Series of experiments have been done to ascertain the placebo effect of the drugs, and apparently, the results have indicated positive results. The effects of supplements have shown to have a decreased damage to the skeletal muscle and lower levels of blood lactate. Of course, from the tests, it is undebatable that the athletes’ doctors, especially in Russia have done a lot of research and realized that doping their clients will have a positive effect on their performance. However, this activity, which has been ongoing since the start of the world war, has received criticism over time since it is unethical and unfair to the other athletes who train hard to compete for their nations. Based on this practice, the committees organizing Olympic marathons have continually insisted on having all the participants in sports to take a drug test to ascertain that they are free from doping. Ideally, this practice has become a contemporary issue in the field of sports, and several Russians in the past and until recently have met headlines on newspapers due to this.

Effect on Dominance in Olympics

Despite the fact that the American athletes have historically shown to be competitive in Olympics, it is highly likely that doping among the Russian athletes made them less dominant. For example in the international Olympics held in 1972 in Munich, the USSR walked away with 50 gold medals as compared to their united states’ counterparts who won only 33. Moreover, in the subsequent Montreal games held in 1976, the USSR managed to score 49 gold medals whereas the United States had only 34. Ostensibly, the United States winning all these medals without the use of steroids deserve a pat on the back. It would also be ethical if the Russians maintained the dominance ethically.

Fairness and Ethical Dilemmas

It is justifiable to claim that winning a marathon in an Olympic or just any medal is just too much to ask of a plant. The same way some of the Russians have been emerging winners under steroids and collecting medals for their country, their counterparts for instance, from the United States, have also been taking home the same medals without taking supplements. Therefore, it calls upon all the athletes to trade fairness and have a true win for their nations. It is not only unethical to perform under the influence of steroids but also a shame to the country one represents if they are stripped of their medals because of the evidence of doping.

Historical Usage of Steroids and Rhodiola

Nevertheless, it would be imperative to add to the account that the Russians did not just come up with the idea of using steroids and Rhodiola from nowhere. For a couple of centuries, the villagers from Siberia brewed Rhodiola tea for all-purpose. They believed that this substance was highly effective, from treating anemia to boosting their libido. The Vikings also used it before raiding their enemies. Besides, in the Greenland, the Inuit combined a mixture of Rhodiola’s buds and leaves, with dried blood and seal blubber for a nosh rich in vitamin C, which cured scurvy. These substances, therefore, have not only been used as boosters but also in traditional healing.


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