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The Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Elite Sports Should Be

TheUse of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Elite Sports Should BeProhibited

TheUse of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Elite Sports Should BeProhibited

Theintegrity of all types of sports is based on the assumption that allplayers are given a level playing field to compete and demonstratetheir abilities. However, the use of substances to enhance theplayers’ performance in nearly all sports competition has become acommonplace and created a difficult challenge for bodies managingindividual sports. According to Cheatham, Hosey &amp Johnson (2008)about 6.6 % male and 3.3 % female students in the United States usessteroids to enhance their performance in sports. This implies thatthe use of drugs to enhance the players’ performance begins atyoung age, even before the young people get into the professionalsports. Although the same research indicated that about 53 % ofparticipants in elite sports use drugs to recover from injuries, itwas revealed that 47 % of them believe that doping enhance theirperformance. The use of substances to improve the players’performance in elite sports interferes with the integrity of thesegames and leads to unfair competition.

Thepractice of using drugs to enhance an individual’s performance inelite sports contradicts the conventional ethos of competition.Traditionally, competitions are held to assess the efficiency ofindividual players or teams of players with the consideration ofvalues of excellence (Salasuo &amp Piispa, 2012). In this sense,awards are given to acknowledge and motivate the winners and not as ameans of profit making. However, the rapid increase of the dopingpractice in elite sports is a clear indication that the modernsociety has adopted the new ethos of completion that has blurredboundaries between winning, excellence, and profitability. The dopingpractice creates a difference between participants who are afterwining and those who are looking for success by adhering toacceptable values of excellence. This means that the use of drugs toimprove players’ performance unlevel the playing field. Althoughmost of the sport participants who use drugs to enhance theirperformance claim that ethics are contextual (Klosterman, 2013),sports, unlike life require clearly defined rules. Therefore, it isimportant to ensure that elite sports are governed by strict rulesthat prohibit the use of drugs.

Theuse of substances to improve performance in elite sports indicatesthe development of the perception that doping is both a social andfinancial capital that can be harnessed to get victory in sports.According to Salasuo &amp Piispa (2012) doping is a valuable assetin occupations (such as security services, organized crime, andbuilding) that require frightening and muscular strength. Enhancingmuscular capacity in these fields does not focus on demonstratingindividuals’ competence as in the case of elite sports. Similarly,the use of substances integrates the notion of survival and the bruteforce to elite sports. This contradicts the original objectives ofthese sports, which include the provision of a fair platform formental, moral, and physical development of participants with awardwinning being secondary (Inigo, 2011). This means that the strengthand muscular capacity that is acquired naturally is admired more thanthe capacity acquired with the help of drugs. The formulation ofclear regulations to curtail the use of drugs for the purpose ofachieving success in elite sports can ensure that all participantsrely on naturally acquired abilities to compete with other players.

Theuse of substances to enhance individual’s performance undermines“the spirit of sports”. The World Anti Doping Agency defines thespirit of sport as a spirit that is described by many values,including ethics, honesty, fair play, health, character, respect forrules, and joy among others (Davidson, 2012). This implies thatsports are not just about winning and receiving awards, but there isa wide range of factors to be considered. For example, the aspect ofhealth of sportsmen and women is of paramount importance in elitesports. Most of the drugs used to improve performance, especially thesteroids, have adverse effects on the health of users, whichundermines the health components of the spirit of sports. Accordingto Cheatham, Hosey &amp Johnson (2008) side effects of anabolicsteroids (the most common performance enhancing group of drugs) canbe categorized into hepatic, reproductive, cardiovascular,psychiatric, and dermatological effects. All these categories ofadverse effects are evidence of the damage that performance enhancingdrugs cause on the metabolic system of drug users. This means thatthese drugs have short-term benefits and long-term damage to thelives of sports people who use them. Apart from undermining thehealth component of the spirit of sports, the drugs also interferewith aspects of joy and fun in elite sports.

Performanceenhancing drugs subjects the participants of elite sports to the riskof stigma. Anabolic steroids are rated 16 out of the top 20substances that cause health as well as social harms (Salasuo &ampPiispa, 2012). Consequently, the use of performance enhancingsubstances is widely perceived to be a dirty behavior, negativedeviance, or recklessness. This negative labeling of labeling of thepractice of enhancing performance using drugs is portrayed in astereotypical fashion. The society often associates the dopingpractice with the use of intoxicants, which means that it will bepossible for the members of society to generate a negative perceptionthat correlates elite sports with substance abuse. This willeventually reduce the significance of elite sports in the society.However, this can be avoided by formulating regulations that willensure that the winners of elite sports do so by natural abilitiesand not artificially acquired powers.

Theuse of substances to restore or enhance the normative function shouldbe regulated in order to determine when therapeutic exemption shouldbe given. In most cases, sports people (about 53 %) give the excuseof injuries in order to get a medical exception to use drugs that hasthe capacity to enhance their performance in sports (Cheatham, Hosey&amp Johnson, 2008). Although injuries are common occurrences insports, there should be rules that mark the end of restorative carethe onset of performance enhancement. This means that medication ofsports people who participate in elite sports should be allowed, butunder supervision.

Inconclusion, the use of substances to improve the performance ofparticipants in elite sports leads to unfair competition andinterferes with the honest as well as the integrity of these sports.The doping practice indicates the continued integration ofmisconceived ideas that contradict the traditional ethos ofcompetition. In addition, this practice creates the generalperception that drugs can be used to get victory in sports, which isassociated with social and financial gains. Moreover, the dopingpractice interferes with the spirit of sports, which is based on keyprinciples, such as integrity, fairness, and honesty. This suggeststhat the use of drugs in elite sports should be regulated byformulating strict rules that will create a clear cut between genuinemediation and doping. This will ensure that all participants in elitesports have an equal opportunity to win and demonstrate theircompetence without the influence of drugs.


Cheatham,A., Hosey, G., &amp Johnson, L. (2008). Performance-enhancing drugsand today’s athlete: A growing concern. Orthopedics,31 (10), 1-10.

Davidson,T. (2012). Performanceenhancing drugs and the spirit of sports.Montreal: World Anti-Doping Agency.

Inigo,R. (2011, August 20). The real objective of sports. Inquirer.Retrieved April 22, 2014, fromhttp://sports.inquirer.net/12723/the-real-objective-of-sports

Klosterman,C. (2013, August 30). There are no sound moral arguments againstperformance-enhancing drugs. TheNew York Times.Retrieved April 22, 2014, from,http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/magazine/there-are-no-sound-moral-arguments-against-performance-enhancing-drugs.html?_r=2&amp

Salasuo,M. &amp Piispa, M. (2012). Perspectivesto doping substance use outside elite sports in Finland.Helsinki: Finnish Youth Research Society.