Doping (sport)

In sports, doping refers to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids, particularly those that are forbidden by the organizations that regulate competitions. Some doping substances, however, are permitted in low doses (alcohol and caffeine). Another form of doping is blood doping, either by blood transfusion or use of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO). Also considered "doping" by many is the use of substances that mask other forms of doping.

Currently, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) and modafinil are causing controversy throughout the sporting world, with many high profile cases attracting major press coverage as prominent United States athletes have tested positive for doping substances. Some athletes that were found to have used modafinil protested as the drug was not on the prohibited list at the time of their offence; however, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) maintains it is a substance related to those already banned, so the decisions stand. Modafinil was added to the list of prohibited substances on August 3, 2004, ten days before the start of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

In recent years, gene doping has been reported as being an emerging form of doping. Gene doping would be very difficult to detect and when used it will last for many years.


Reaction from sports organisations

The International Amateur Athletics Federation, now the International Association of Athletics Federations, were the first international governing body of sport to take the situation seriously. In 1928 they banned participants from doping, but with little in the way of testing available they had to rely on the word of the athlete that they were clean.

It was not until 1966 that FIFA (football (soccer)) and Union Cycliste Internationale (cycling) joined the IAAF in the fight against drugs, closely followed by the International Olympic Committee the following year.

Progression in pharmacology has always outstripped the ability of sports federations to implement rigorous testing procedures but since the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999 more and more sportspeople are being caught.

The first tests for athletes were at the 1967 European Championships and a year later the IOC implemented their first drug tests at both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Anabolic steroids became prevalent during the 1970s and after a method of detection was found they were added to the IOC's prohibited substances list in 1976.

Notable drug scandals in professional sport

  • The first modern incident of doping was in 1865, when Dutch swimmers used stimulants. In the late 19th century European cyclists were using substances like caffeine and ether-coated sugar cubes to reduce pain and delay fatigue.
  • In the 1904 Olympics, Thomas Hicks (USA) won the marathon at St. Louis and collapsed. It took hours to revive him; he had taken brandy mixed with strychnine to help him win his gold medal.
  • A famous case of illicit drug use in a competition was Canadian Ben Johnson's victory in the 100 m at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He subsequently failed the drug test when stanozolol was found in his urine. He later admitted to using the steroid as well as Dianabol, Cypionate, Furazabol, and human growth hormone amongst other things. Carl Lewis was then promoted one place to take the Olympic title home.
  • In 1998 the entire Festina team were excluded from the Tour de France following the discovery of a team car containing large amounts of various performance-enhancing drugs. The team director later admitted that some of the cyclists were routinely given banned substances. Six other teams pulled out in protest including Dutch team TVM who left the tour still being questioned by the police. The Festina scandal overshadowed cyclist Marco Pantani's tour win, but he himself later failed a test. More recently David Millar, the 2003 World-Time Trial Champion admitted using EPO, and was stripped of his title and suspended for two years.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, many athletes from Eastern bloc nations were suspected to be augmenting their ability with some kind of pharmacological help. After the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, documents surfaced proving that the East German sport establishment had conducted systematic doping of virtually all of its world-class athletes.

See also

External links

de:Doping fr:Dopage ja:ドーピング ru:Допинг sv:Dopning (sport) es:doping


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