Doping has a long history in the world of sports. The term is suggested to originate from different places. As an example, “Dop” in Southern Africa is known as an alcoholic drink that can stimulate people during ceremonial dances. Dope is also a common word that refers to narcotic drugs that can affect physical performance. Throughout antiquity, people have been looking for substances that can help their body to last longer and work harder. There are cases where people eat certain local roots and leaves that can help them feeling vigorous and content for the whole day, without being affected by thirst, hunger and tiredness. Any professional athlete would look for ways to enhance the performance and stamina. Before being considered illegal, some athletes used opium to keep themselves awake a few hours before a sports match. With significant monetary prizes, athletes were motivated to perform better and stay awake longer.
Increased demands for better performance in sports have opened the door for all types of drugs and treatments that can give us enhanced performance. Cocaine was also used as part of concoctions to help athletes achieve improved performance. Even doctors at the time pointed out how beneficial some drugs, like strychnine to competing athletes. Athletes in early 20th century were given a glass of brandy and injection of strychnine just before a race begins. Benzendrine or a type of amphetamine was first used during the famous 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It is commonly known as “speed”. However, Benzendrine could actually cause heightened risk-taking tendencies and deficiency in judgment. The infamous anabolic steroids were first discovered and synthesized during the same decades, but it wasn’t used until mid 1950’s. Russian weightlifters used it to gain more strength and endurance. Soon, steroid was regularly used by Olympic athletes.
Athletes in East Germany during the 1970’s suffered the most blatant abuse of doping. Stasi, the state secret police in the country supervised a systematic way to provide doping for athletes in East Germany. At the time, the use of doping was considered as state policy in East Germany. Young teenagers were given hormones without regard to any negative effect on their still growing bodies. Coaches and trainers regularly neglected telling athletes about the actual use of doping. They said that the performance-enhancing pills were just vitamins. As a result, many thousands former athletes are still struggling with the mental and physical scars of doping abuse forced on them. East German government considered that every gold medal as an ideological victory. Although doping has been quite prevalent, it is already banned by every major sporting organization. Athletes are encouraged to gain competitive edges through healthier ways.
However, athletes are regularly discovered to use doping through urine test. It is believed that preventing the use of doping completely is impossible and it should be legalized instead. For these athletes, they are willing to risk their reputation and health to gain success and achieved specific goals.