Competing Against Doping

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Competing Against Doping

Sport is thought of as an activity that is governed by a set of rules and is engaged in competitively, while doping is the idea of using banned natural or synthetic substance for the purpose of enhancing performance in sport. In this paper I will argue against the fallacies presented on the topic of allowing doping in sports. I will argue that the notion of doping in sports is not based on sound moral reasoning and given the choice, not all athletes will chose to dope. The idea of doping in sport has been around since the early 19th century, with the first ever case being recorded at the 1896 Bordeaux-Paris race following the death of Welsh cyclist Arthur Lindon (European Commission, 2003). I will show that continued banning and drug testing for athletes in competitive sports is of greater benefit to the sporting world than permitting drugs.

In an interview of small groups of athletes conducted in 1992 by Vicky Rabinowicz, she found that “Olympic athletes, in general, believed that most successful athletes were using banned substances” (Savulescu, Foddy, & Clayton, 2008). Arguing that athletes themselves believe other athletes are successful because of drug use, with only a small number having been interviewed out of the possible 9,356 athletes in attendance at the Barcelona Summer Olympics, is a fallacy of composition (International Olympic Committee, 2008). It is false to believe that what is true for a small group must be true for all. The attitudes of athletes towards each other offers no proof as to whether athletes are using drugs to achieve success.

An athlete who engages in competitive sport knows what is needed in preparation of and for the duration of an event to win, but all the while is aware of the actions that result in penalization. All competitive sport is governed by rules of play. Routine penalties given in hockey confine the offender to the penalty box, while the penalty for stepping over the take off board in long or triple jump in track and field results in a jump that does not count. The penalties given for each sport varies greatly worldwide from a warning, to a loss of point, addition of point, and even disqualification for the remainder of the event, possibly even future events. The conclusion in the following argument is that penalties for cheating are small. “Drugs are much more effective today...the penalties for cheating are small. A six month or one year ban from competition is a small penalty to pay” (Savulescu et al., 2008). Although it is true that consequences for cheating could be a six month or one year ban, this argument fails to point out all of the penalties for using performance enhancing drugs.

The lightest of consequences result in suspension, withdrawal from event(s) and any organization the athlete is involved with, followed by exclusion from future Olympic games (International Olympic Committee, 2008). It takes only one positive drug test by two individuals from any given team in Olympic competition for the entire team to be subject to disqualification (International Olympic Committee, 2008). Upon a positive drug test by an athlete, he/she automatically forfeits any medals, points, or prizes awarded.

The length of a sanction is dependent upon four factors: the type of anti-doping violation, circumstances of the case, substance used, and whether it is a first time or repeat offense (International Olympic Committee, 2008). An athlete found guilty of use or attempted use, refusing to submit a sample collection, tampering, as well as failing to provide whereabouts, or having in possession a prohibited substance all bring about a minimum two year ban (International Olympic Committee, 2008). Trafficking results in a four year ban while administering is exclusion of four years to life (International Olympic Committee, 2008). These are not small penalties to pay.

Aside from being ineligible to compete in ensuing...
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