By Medifit Biologicals


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Doping in sport is a major challenge, as it not only threatens the integrity of sport but also puts athletes’ health at risk. Only by taking a concerted and comprehensive approach to the fight against doping in sport is it possible to protect the integrity of sport and the health of athletes worldwide.



Doping refers to the use of banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs by athletic competitors, where the term doping is widely used by 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.

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Performance-enhancing drugs are not unique to modern athletic competition. Mushrooms, plants and mixtures of wine and herbs were used by ancient Greek olympic athletes and Roman gladiators competing in Circus Maximus dating back to 776 BC. Various plants were used for their stimulant effects in speed and endurance events as well as to mask pain, allowing injured athletes to continue competing.

In the 1904 Olympics, marathon runner Thomas Hicks used a mixture of brandy and strychnine and nearly died. Mixtures of strychnine, heroin, cocaine, and caffeine were used widely by athletes, and each coach or team developed its own unique secret formulae. This was common practice until heroin and cocaine became available only by prescription in the 1920s. During the 1930s, it was amphetamines that replaced strychnine as the stimulant of choice for athletes. In the 1950s, the Soviet Olympic team first used male hormones to increase strength and power. When the Berlin Wall fell, the East German government’s program of performance enhancement by meticulous administration of steroids and other drugs to young athletes was exposed. These well-documented and controlled hormonal doping experiments on adolescent athletes by the East German Sports Medical Service yielded a crop of gold medalists (mostly young females as they responded more dramatically to male hormones). These athletes suffered severe medical abnormalities, including premature death .

The world became acutely aware of the extent and benefits of doping in sport when Ben Johnson’s gold medal was stripped in the 1988 Seoul Olympics for using the steroid stanazalol. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission had established a list of prohibited substances in 1967 and introduced anti-doping testing of athletes in the 1972 Munich Games. It was clear at this point that doping did work and, if gone undetected, would win gold medals. East German scientists from the state-run doping programs at Kreischa and Leipzig, who were disgraced in their own country, where now in demand in Asia, former Soviet Block nations and sports organizations worldwide that wanted to promote their status. Doping became so prevalent in Olympic sport that some argued that all records should be discarded or put on hold until all forms of doping could be detected and stopped. Through the 1980s and 1990s, clandestine doping programs spread from sport to sport guided by modern, albeit unethical, pharmacists and sports medicine professionals. In 1999, the IOC organized a World Conference on Doping in Sport in response to a shocking discovery of massive amounts of performance enhancing drugs and paraphernalia by French police at the 1998 Tour de France. It was at this meeting that an independent global agency was founded, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Its mission was to work independently of the IOC, sports organizations and governments to lead the fight against doping in sport .

Despite years of aggressive anti-doping testing by international sports federations such as those for cycling, athletics and soccer, steroid abuse scandals involving high profile athletes continue to be front page news across the globe. Professional sports in the United States are not subject to extensive anti-doping programs, as players’ unions and collective bargaining agreements prevented such extensive testing to be put into place. However, they did establish limited anti-doping programs, as the professional sports organizations recognized the potential of doping to harm athletes and their sport. In 1998, when Mark McGuire, an American baseball player, broke Roger Marris’ home run record, it was revealed that he had been taking a supplement containing a precursor to nandrolone, a steroid. At that time Major League Baseball did not ban steroids and did not believe that steroids were a problem within the league. However, subsequent government investigations and former players revealed that steroid abuse was a problem in the League, which resulted in a limited steroid testing program.

In 2003, another significant event in the understanding of the institutional nature of doping occurred. A syringe was anonymously sent to a WADA-accredited laboratory in Los Angeles that contained tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), a “designer” steroid that was not known and not on the current WADA prohibited list, made specifically to avoid detection by modern anti-doping technologies. This led to a series of investigations resulting in the indictment and subsequent conviction of individuals running a performance-enhancing program for professional athletes at the BALCO pharmacy in San Francisco.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti Doping Code (Code) – the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.

After the events that shook the world of cycling in the summer of 1998, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to convene a World Conference on Doping, bringing together all parties involved in the fight against doping.

The First World Conference on Doping in Sport held, in Lausanne, Switzerland, on February 2-4, 1999, produced the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport. This document provided for the creation of an independent international anti-doping agency to be operational for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000.

Pursuant to the terms of the Lausanne Declaration, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established on November 10, 1999, in Lausanne to promote and coordinate the fight against doping in sport internationally. WADA was set up as a foundation under the initiative of the IOC with the support and participation of intergovernmental organizations, governments, public authorities, and other public and private bodies fighting doping in sport.

The Agency consists of equal representatives from the Olympic Movement and public authorities.



Under established doping control protocols, the participant will be asked to provide a urine sample, which will be divided into two, each portion to be preserved within sealed containers bearing the same unique identifying number and designation respectively as A- and B-samples. WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board clarified at a meeting on 19–20 November, that an athlete whose A-sample has revealed the presence of a prohibited substance or method to request the analysis of his or her B-sample.

“The B-sample helps confirm that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred and protects the rights of the athletes”, said WADA Director General David Howman. “It should be stressed that anti-doping is one of the few types of controls in society in which a confirmation procedure is used in order to protect individuals, and the very rare cases in which the analysis of the B-sample did not match the results of the A-sample have shown the usefulness of such procedure.”

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According to Article 6.5 in the World Anti-Doping Code samples may be re-tested later. Samples from high-profile events, such as the Olympic Games, are now re-tested up to eight years later to take advantage of new techniques for detecting banned substances.



Athletes seeking to avoid testing positive use various methods. The most common methods include:

Urine replacement, which involves replacing dirty urine with clean urine from someone who is not taking banned substances. Urine replacement can be done by catheterization or with a prosthetic penis such as The Original Whizzinator.

Diuretics, used to cleanse the system before having to provide a sample.

Blood transfusions, which increase the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity, in turn increasing endurance without the presence of drugs that could trigger a positive test result.

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By Medifit Biologicals