Drugs in Sport Essay

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The use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sports is commonly referred to as doping, particularly by the organizations that regulate sporting competitions. The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical by most international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, although ethicists have argued that it is not different from the use of new materials in the construction of suits and sporting equipment, which can also aid performance and give competitors an unfair advantage. The reasons for the ban are mainly the health risks of performance-enhancing drugs, the equality of opportunity for athletes, and the exemplary effect of drug-free sport for the public. Anti-doping authorities state that using performance-enhancing drugs goes against the "spirit of sport". History In Ancient Times, when the fittest of a nation were selected as athletes or combatants, they were fed diets and given treatments considered beneficial. For instance, Scandinavian mythology says Berserkers could drink a mixture called "butotens", perhaps prepared from the Amanita muscaria mushroom, to increase their physical power a dozen times at the risk of insanity. The German missionary and doctor Albert Schweitzer wrote of Gabon in the early 19th century: "The people of the country can, having eaten certain leaves or roots, toil vigorously all day without feeling hungry, thirsty or tired and all the time showing a happiness and gaiety." A participant in an endurance walking race in Britain, Abraham Wood, said in 1807 that he had used laudanum, or opium, to keep him awake for 24 hours while competing against Robert Barclay Allardyce. The event proved popular, however, with 20,000 spectators attending each day. Encouraged, the promoters developed the idea and soon held similar races for cyclists. Public reaction turned against such trials,

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