quest for better athletics through chemicals goes back a long
time. With the aim to excel, sportspersons adopt the wrong path
by consuming performance-enhancing drugs. This illegal way of
"performing at its peak" was witnessed even during
Ancient Olympics. The first recorded attempt to enhance
performance occurred in 8th century BC, when Ancient Greek
Olympians ate sheep’s testicles. Today, we would recognise
these as a source of testosterone.
Another form of
drugs use is blood doping, either by blood transfusion or using
the hormone erythropoietin (EPO). Players boost the number of
red blood corpuscles (RBCs) in the circulation to enhance
athletic performance. Red blood corpuscles carry oxygen from the
lungs to the muscles, therefore their increased presence in the
blood can improve an athlete’s aerobic capacity and stamina.
And the latest in
the doping stable is gene doping. It will be very difficult to
detect this. When used, it will last for many years.
Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), now the International
Association of Athletics Federations, is the first international
governing body of sport to take a serious note of the situation.
In 1928, it banned users of dope. But with little by the way of
testing available, it had to rely on the word of the athlete.
It was not until
1966 that FIFA and Union Cycliste Internationale (cycling)
joined the IAAF in the fight against drugs, closely followed by
the International Olympic Committee in 1967. The first tests for
athletes were at the 1966 European Championships and two years
later the IOC implemented their first drug tests at both the
Summer and Winter Olympics.
In recent history,
a famous case of illicit drug use in a competition was Canadian
Ben Johnson’s victory in the 100 m at the 1988 Summer
Olympics. He failed the drug test when stanozolol was found in
his urine. And a doping scandal shook the world of cycling in
the summer of 1998. The entire Festina team were excluded from
Tour de France following the discovery of a team car containing
large amounts of various performance-enhancing drugs.
the IOC decided to convene a world conference on doping,
bringing together all parties involved in the fight against this
menace. The World Conference on Doping in Sport, held in
Lausanne on February 2-4, 1999, produced the Lausanne
Declaration on Doping in Sport.
according to the terms of the Lausanne Declaration, the World
Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established on November 10, 1999,
in Lausanne to promote and coordinate the fight against doping
in sport internationally.
In July, 2005,
founders of California’s Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative
pleaded guilty to steroid distribution. Those implicated in the
scandal included British sprinter Dwain Chambers; the American
sprinter Marion Jones, winner of a record five Olympic medals at
the 2000 Sydney Olympics; her shot putter husband C.J. Hunter;
Barry Bonds, perhaps the most fearsome hitter in baseball; Jason
and several members of the Oakland Raiders.
The 2006 book Game
of Shadows alleges extensive use of several types of
steroids and growth hormones by baseball superstar Barry
Bonds, and also names several other athletes as drug cheats.
In 2006, the
Spanish police arrested five persons, including the sporting
director of the Liberty Seguros cycling team, on charges of
running a massive doping scheme involving most of the team
and many other top cyclists. Several potential contenders in
the 2006 Tour de France were forced to withdraw when they
were linked to the scheme.
Less than a
week after the 2006 Tour de France, it was revealed that
winner Floyd Landis had tested positive after his stunning
stage 17 victory.
In July, 2006, Olympic and world 100m champion Justin
Gatlin failed a drug test.