I sat watching ‘The Armstrong Lie’ last night and couldn’t help but wonder how this man got away with this for so long. The world was taken in by his story, and precious few were brave enough to stand up to him.
Lance Armstrong isn’t the only person to use performance enhancing drugs, and he won’t be the last – but it still seems beyond belief. Now normally I’d go on to tell you about the scientific aspect of anabolic steroid use and warn you about all the possible negative side effects, but after watching ‘The Armstrong Lie’, that doesn’t seem as important.
It’s probably safe to assume any drug cheat doesn’t grow up planning to damage the sport they love, but there will be that one moment in their life at some point where they make that decision to cheat. Are there any circumstances in which this can be excused though?
Of course the answer is absolutely not. Forget all the science behind it, and forget the, ‘everybody else is doing it’, it’s just the lack of humanity that is disgraceful. Sporting competition is all about pushing your body to its maximum capability, and that is something that is unbelievably admirable.
It doesn’t matter if every journalist wrote an article about this, people would still find a way to cheat. If a sportsman has decided he wants to gain an unfair advantage through the use of an anabolic steroid, he will do it. But if just one person is even considering it and reading this changes their mind, then I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.
So why are they banned substances anyway? Well, anabolic steroids produce the same effects as testosterone which allow you to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance. It’s important to point out that not all drug cheats use anabolic steroids – banned substances in sport include testosterone, EPO, HGH and even the use of blood transfusions.
You also need to remember that often, the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport is prohibited but not criminal – anabolic steroids are Class C drugs, and if not medically prescribed it’s illegal to possess them.
What if you do take them though – what might you be doing to your body?
Well if you’re a man, don’t be surprised to find:
- Severe acne
- Shrunken testicles
- A lower sperm count
- Prostate cancer
And if you’re a woman, you could be faced with:
- Facial hair
- A deeper voice
- Issues with menstruation
In severe cases, both women and men can suffer with heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, blood clots – and the list goes on and on.
Remember when it was Sports Day at school? It didn’t matter how much training you’d had, all you wanted to do was win. That’s a good thing – we as humans are naturally competitive and want to win. But when you’re willing to win at all costs, you’re happy to bend the rules.
Athletic competition is all about performing to your maximum ability – seeing how much we can achieve as human beings. Yes, the physical aspect is horrendous, but sport is about the spirit and the passion, not about who’s doctor has got the best new drug.
This post may seem preachy, but I’d rather that than somebody reading this and thinking it was okay to use performance enhancing drugs.
Whether they’re illegal or not, whether they’re damaging us physically or not, if somebody is taking part in athletic competition they shouldn’t be taking any banned substance that is going to enhance their performance.
This will probably seem over the top to many, but doping really is the cancer of athletic competition – it spreads violently with only one possible outcome – destruction.
We love sport as a nation, and we wouldn’t want to live in a world where it was less about the athleticism, and more about who could make the best drug in the shortest amount of time.