They risk not only their sporting career, but also their overall well-being to give the competition a boost. Why should athletes be given the choice to harm themselves? In addition, if most athletes decide to use steroids, then many players who do not want to suffer the long-term effects will feel compelled to use illegal substances themselves. This could cause them to kill themselves slowly in order to stay at the new level of competition set by steroid users. It should not be thought that allowing cyclists to take EPO would make the Tour de France a kind of “drug race”, any more than the different training methods would make it a “training race” or a “money race”. Athletes train differently and creatively, but at the end of the day, they still ride similar bikes on the same track. The ability to tackle the steep winding descent will always be there. The World Anti-Doping Agency Code declares a drug illegal if it enhances performance, poses a health risk, or violates the “spirit of sport”.10 They define this spirit as follows.11 The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human mind, body and spirit and is characterized by the following values: If we take safety in sport seriously, we should also be prepared to discuss changes to the rules and equipment of sports that are themselves inherently dangerous. Formula One motorsport, once the deadliest sport, hasn`t killed a driver in more than six years, largely due to sweeping changes in track technology and car safety. Meanwhile, professional boxing remains inherently dangerous; David Rickman died in a fight in March 2004, despite having a physical exam the day before.36 We should allow safe drugs and continue to ban and monitor dangerous drugs.
There is another argument in favor of this fairness-based policy: assuming a drug is safe, it is unfair to honest athletes that they have to give up an advantage enjoyed by scammers. As far as we are concerned, we must ensure that we do not encourage these bad behaviours. It is important to recognize the many risks associated with the legalization of EPDs and to take all possible steps to protect athletes and the nature of sport itself. We can continue the trend of cringing and hysteria, with one doping scandal after another further embarrassing professional athletics – or we can legalize and regulate performance-enhancing drugs, to the benefit of both sport and sports fans. Let us do ourselves and our athletes a service by allowing them to do their best. Improved performance is not contrary to the spirit of sport; That`s the spirit of sport. To choose to be better is to be human. Athletes should have that choice.
Your well-being should come first. But taking drugs doesn`t have to be cheating. The legalization of drugs in sport could be fairer and safer. The case of American sailor Kevin Hall perhaps illustrates this best. Hall lost his testicles to cancer, which meant he needed testosterone injections to stay healthy. Since testosterone is an anabolic steroid, he had to prove to four different governing bodies that he had not used the substance to gain an advantage.33 All the tests we perform should be sensitive to the athlete`s health; Focusing on the substances themselves is dogmatic. The use of drugs to cheat in sport is not new, but it is becoming more and more effective. In 1976, the East German swim team won 11 of the 13 Olympic events and then sued the government for giving them anabolic steroids.3 However, despite the health risks and despite attempts by regulators to eliminate drugs from sports, the use of illicit substances is widely known. It barely raises an eyebrow when a famous athlete fails a doping test. Bringing the EPO up to the security level, say 0.5, is not a problem. This allows athletes to correct natural inequalities. There are, of course, some drugs that are harmful in themselves – for example, anabolic steroids.
We should focus on detecting them because they are harmful, not because they improve performance. Sport is constantly evolving. Walter Payton didn`t train with world-class coaches in state-of-the-art facilities when he was dominating. Babe Ruth didn`t drink Gatorade or use creatine when he stunned his fans. We do not prohibit the advantages that modern athletes have over their predecessors, and this attitude of progress should apply at all levels. Better sleep can improve performance. A healthy breakfast, vitamins and supplements, a harder workout or simple genetic benefits – there are countless factors that contribute to exercise being “unfair”. But that`s the whole point of competition.
The well-being of the athlete must be our primary concern. If a drug does not expose an athlete to excessive risk, we should allow it, even if it improves performance. We have two choices: try in vain to turn back the clock, or rethink who we are and what sport is, and make a new Olympic Games of the 21st century. Not Super Olympics, but more humane Olympics. Our crusade against drugs in sport has failed. Instead of fearing drugs in sport, we should embrace them. So, is the scam here to stay? Drugs are against the rules. But we define the rules of sport.
If we made drugs legal and freely available, there would be no fraud. Linford Christie, who served a two-year drug ban for track and field competitions, said athletics “is now so corrupt that I don`t want my child to do it.” 37 But aside from the moral damage children suffer from participating in corrupt sports, should we exclude them from professional sports for medical reasons? Opponents argue that EPDs are harmful and potentially deadly, and that athletes who use them are cheaters who gain an unfair advantage, violate the spirit of competition and send the wrong message to children. They say EPR users are unfairly diminishing the historical achievements of clean athletes and that efforts to end the use of PED in sports should remain vigorous. Legalization of drugs in sports could be fairer and safer We know many baseball players who have used steroids, but what about all those who have never failed a drug test, especially those who have played in the steroid era? It`s hard for me to remove someone`s name, and it`s unfortunate. If steroids were legal under both the law and Major League Baseball, there would be no questions about who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and we wouldn`t have to tarnish the names of athletes who made the decision to use steroids, frankly, because they felt they had to keep up. We wouldn`t be beholden to MLB`s impressive drug testing system to determine which athletes are role models and which are not. Not only would the playing field suddenly be level for all players, but it would also be at a higher level. Much of the observation of sport is experiencing the peak of human athletic ability, and legalizing performance-enhancing drugs would help athletes climb even higher. Steroids and doping help pitchers pitch harder, home runs go further, cyclists charge longer, and sprinters test the limits of human speed.
Lance Armstrong, for many the face of doping, is an example of the flawed logic behind suspensions. Yes, Armstrong had an advantage because of his illegal activities.