Live Strong, an inspiration, a life changing motto, a symbol of hope in the face of adversity, but no matter how “strong” one’s brand is, even the mighty can fall prey to accusations and confirmed reports of doping. Lance Armstrong, known for his outstanding performance as a cyclists, beating cancer, and creating one of the biggest organizations in the world to support those facing the same challenge, found himself in legal battles, titles being stripped, and his reputation destroyed, simply for trying to get the edge in sports.
With the Olympics right around the corner, what are the officials doing about this ongoing and controversial topic? Who are the current biggest offenders, why do they feel the need to pump themselves with steroids, enhancements, and other methods just to stay competitive? Here is the word in sports, doping.
Many of the upcoming Olympic athletes are suffering from “poor performance” and looking to boost their natural talent in unnatural ways.
With Rio introducing the next generation of talented athletes, recent news has implicated nearly 31 athletes across several nations that may possibly face a ban from this year’s competition. In a massive investigation of both the Beijing and London games, the IOC, or International Olympics Committee, has been investigating said athletes for the past eight years, stating to the Detroit News, “This is a powerful strike against the cheats,” IOC President, Thomas Bach, said. “They show once again that dopers have no place to hide.”
Specifically, nearly half of those accused of doping came from Russia. While the names of the athletes were not released as the investigation continues, the IOC did indicate that after their Beijing tests, they will know more.
In the New York Times, Grigory Rodchenkov, a chemist responsible for running the Russian anti-doping lab, revealed that the Russian government offered a highly effective government run doping program to ensure the success of its athletes. In addition, Rodchenkov gives a bit of insight on the facilitation of the wins stating, “People are celebrating Olympic champion winners, but we are sitting crazy and replacing their urine,” Dr. Rodchenkov said. “Can you imagine how Olympic sport is organized?”
With so many people under investigation at the moment, one can only wonder how many other athletes have slipped through the cracks and are doping right now as we speak before starting their daily workout routine. Whether it’s the world’s best cyclist, a country team of dedicated athletes, or a single individual trying to push themselves to the limit, doping has and will continue to be a major topic in the world of sports.
As the IOC continues to crack down on suspected dopers, the simple fact of the matter is that its taken them nearly eight years to catch up with a handful of competitors before the next Olympics, leaving hundreds of participants flying under the radar. One can’t assume that every athlete is doping, but when it takes nearly a decade to catch up with the assailant, and the average athlete’s career is roughly 15 years, it’s no wonder so many turn to the dark side.
To complete the process, the Russians have in fact reacted to the allegation, fully denying the doping claims and NBC reported, “Russia has been battling allegations of institutionalized doping use since late 2014, based mostly on whistle blower reports by ex-athletes. President Vladimir Putin has personally admitted the problem, though denied the use of doping was state-sanctioned.”