In bodybuilding, steroids play an important role in the overall aesthetics of bodybuilders in exchange for future side effects. But when used by athletes, it gives an unfair advantage to their opponents.
Steroids are synthetic hormones typically used for medical purposes. But there is a type of steroid called anabolic steroids, which enhances athletic performance and build muscle mass.
Due to its ability to enhance the performance of athletes, its usage has been banned in many sports. Consumption of anabolic steroids is also illegal, especially if without a prescription.
According to Verywell Fit, anabolic-androgenic drugs work by enhancing the proteins in cells, particularly skeletal muscles. It also elevates testosterone levels, resulting in increased endurance, stamina, and athletes’ overall performance.
Moreso, taking these performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) reduces the recovery time, healing the torn muscle tissues quicker, allowing athletes to train more and push themselves harder. Additionally, if paired with proper diet and exercise, it can also improve the physical appearance of its users as it creates a more defined muscular physique.
But while it improves an athlete’s performance, factors such as ability, genetics, body size, age, sex, diet, and discipline determine the result of these PEDs.
Commonly known to the sports world as doping, many athletes have risked their careers taking these illegal substances—all for the sake of winning.
It’s Becoming A Problem
Athletes want to make their team, nation, and themselves proud by getting that win. Resorting to doping can give them that edge. But not everyone will risk their health and their careers just to take that W.
One reason is that sports organizations look into doping very seriously. Take a look at what happened to Kenyan track-and-field athletes who were caught using steroids.
In an article by CNN, marathon runner Betty Lempus and middle-distance runner Eglay Nafula Nalyanya received sanctions for violating the anti-doping law. Lempus was banned from competing for five years, while Nalyanya was slapped with an eight-year ban.
Both athletes have received “intramuscular injections” and falsified medical documents to appear as if they were “natural.”
Another athlete slapped with a ban was Zane Robertson, an Olympic distance runner. Robertson, a record holder in the marathon, was discovered to be using erythropoietin, or EPO, a drug that increases oxygen delivery into the muscles for added recovery and endurance.
Australian Olympic athlete Peter Bol also failed his doping test and was suspended by the Athletics Australia. Bol was one of Australia’s brightest track and field stars, and his performance at the Tokyo Olympics impressed many.
But because his bloodwork showed signs of EPO, his career is in jeopardy.
Both Robertson and Bol denied ever using the banned substance. Yet, not only have their careers been tainted by the use of steroids, but it will also affect their health.
The Downside of Doping
The use of steroids has negative implications on the user’s health. If abused, men will suffer from gynecomastia or the overdevelopment of the breast tissue. Infertility will also be another side effect, including male-patter baldness, severe acne, and shrinkage of testicles.
Women who dope will also suffer these:
- Breast shrinkage
- Clitoral enlargement
- Excessive body or facial hair
- Hair loss
- Irregular menstruation
- Deepening of voice
- Severe acne
Apart from these common side effects, individuals who practice doping will exhibit aggressive or violent behavior, depression, and anxiety. They are also at risk of having a heart attack, high blood pressure, prostate cancer, stroke, myocardial hypertrophy, and other unnatural health conditions.
The use of steroids to cheat in sports is illegal, undermines the integrity of competition, and puts athletes’ health at risk. Steroids are a performance-enhancing drug that can give athletes an unfair advantage over their competitors, allowing them to surpass natural physical limits and achieve success through artificial means.
This not only goes against the spirit of sportsmanship but also sets a dangerous precedent for young athletes who may look up to these cheaters as role models. Moreover, steroid use can have serious health consequences, including liver damage, infertility, and cardiovascular disease, putting the athlete’s long-term health at risk.
Therefore, using steroids to cheat in sports should not be condoned and should be punished severely to maintain the fairness and safety of competitive sports.