Doping Control

Doping the buzz word of 2017

By Daniyal Zia Jafri

Doping has been to topic of controversy since the recent Russian doping scandal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. More recently the UFC heavy weight Brock Lesnar’s was dealt a suspension from the UFC for one year for doping.

Doping is the usage of a prohibited substance/method to gain an unfair athletic advantage. The agency responsible for anti-doping in the US is the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency); their Canadian counterpart is the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP). The assessments are conducted by collecting blood and/or urine samples from the athlete, and here is the kicker! They have to visually see you urinate in the cup if you get selected for testing. Athletes can deny it and refuse to give a sample but by doing so would make you “guilty” and thus suspended from the sport. However, these measures are necessary because in the past athletes have poured someone else’s sample in to the container to successfully pass screening.

The priority for testing for a university team is usually uncommon, especially for sports like volleyball. Testing is more common in sports such as hockey, football, and track. Doping tests are traditionally conducted randomly or if inspectors are suspicious of an athlete. In 2010 Waterloo University suspended members of its football team due to a steroid scandal. The Canadian Center for Ethics in Sports revealed 9 anti-doping interactions by the Waterloo Warriors.  In 2010, McGill University suspended one of their linemen for 2 years for illegally participating in doping. Following that trend again in 2016, a football player was suspended for doping violations.

Let’s look at history and how humans have used science for their personal gain to enhance their abilities in athletics. In 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, Thomas Hicks won a gold medal in the marathon with the help of the performance enhancing drug strychnine. In the 1960s and 80s the German women’s swimming team was crushing all other countries in the Olympics and no one knew why; it was later revealed that they were using steroids. Suspicion arose when the women in the team had deeper voices and very muscular frames, a side effect of being injected with testosterone.

In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, American athlete M. Jones won a gold medal, but 7 years later it was revealed that she used steroids to achieve a higher level of athletic ability. Since the Beijing Olympics it can be noticed that majority of the medals go to the United States, China, and Russia. One can only wonder how they do it. Maybe they developed an undetectable steroid. Maybe we will never know; however, in the Brazil Olympics, something fishy showed up on the Internet.

As of late, numerous chat rooms were highlighting that American swimmers had suction cup marks on their bodies. The articles stated that the suction cup therapy allowed those athletes to heal and recover faster which was an unfair advantage exclusive to the Americans. It would be fair to say that there is a high probability that doping will forever be an issue in high-stake athletics. As methods are developed to detect one form of doping, a new one will soon emerge. So is the evolution of cheating.