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Wednesday Debate No.10- Drugs, Doping and Cheats

February 13, 2013
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Is this what will become of sport?

A highly controversial and topical source of debate today and that is: should doping ever be allowed? Whilst at first it seems unquestionable, there is a reasonable and growing argument for the legalization of performance-enhancing drugs.

Firstly- the argument for the drugs to continue. Australia have discovered doping is rife in their sports, Lance Armstrong has helped to unveil the extent of cheating in cycling, and al through sport shockwaves spread, the ripples affecting even established sports such as football and basketball, where suspicions grow. It is widely believed that the roots of corruption are now too deeply implanted in sport to get rid of and we should instead embrace it. Moreover, countries such as the UK and USA can afford far better facilities and coaching for high performance athletes than developing nations. How is this different to using drugs to elevate yourself to a level unattainable to other athletes? An athlete from Nigeria is far less likely to fulfil their potential than one in China, and this could be seen as a form of cheating in itself in that it creates an uneven playing field. Finally, it appears that the method of picking banned substances is quite arbitrary. In a manner of speaking, all food is a ‘chemical’ and some (for example high energy drinks) are more conducive to sporting performance than others. The line at which this is drawn is very vague and a grey area, it could be argued, is worse than legalising all performance enhancing drugs.

However, it is difficult to suggest that something like a banana (high in yummy potassium) is the same as creatine (high in not so yummy side effects). These drugs are potentially harmful and to protect athletes they must remain banned. Also, saying that it is difficult to stop does NOT mean that we should not even try. Efforts can and are being made to prevent doping and there are tentative signs of improvements. Furthermore, even monkeys have a basic sense of justice and it is entirely natural for us to feel cheated when an opponent has gained the upper hand unfairly. To not have to train hard for success seems and is wrong. Particularly in the pinnacle of these sports, drug use should be illegal as it is not fair to all competitors. Giving everyone the ability to use drugs would mean that any records broken would not be fully human achievements, reducing athletes to little more than people enhanced by work in a lab.

In summary, I think that legalising performance enhancing drugs is unquestionable. Inauthenticity in sport would not be entertaining for most spectators and would most likely cause harm to the participants at the same time.

Thanks for reading this far more serious blog post- I promise I’ll be back to ‘gibberish’ next time! If you enjoyed it remember to like and follow. Leave a comment or vote in the poll below to express your own view!

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