Doping in Ancient Times and Modern Times

By Nick Brakatselos (A Class)

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We can observe through centuries that people, especially athletes, have used illegal substances in order to improve their skills, despite the restrictions imposed by the various athletic organizations. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the use and perception of these illegal techniques through the ages.

In competitive sports, doping is the use of banned athletic performance-enhancing drugs by athletic competitors. The term doping is widely used by organizations that regulate sporting competitions. The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical, and therefore prohibited, by most international sports organizations. Furthermore, athletes taking explicit measures to evade detection, exacerbate the ethical violation with overt deception and cheating.
Historically speaking, the origins of doping in sports go back to the very creation of sport itself.  The general trend among authorities and sporting organizations over the past several decades has been to strictly regulate the use of drugs in sport. 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 sportsmanship».

Since the time of Ancient Olympia, where the only tangible prize was an olive branch, the glory of the winner was remarkable. Every city-state honored the winner like a hero or god.  This fact forced athletes to resort to irregular techniques to improve their athletic skills.

A mixture of wine and Strychnine, a poison that acts as a stimulant in small doses, and the cock that survived cow-fighting, was considered the ideal food for an athlete before the race. Mushroom varieties and dry figs for sugar content were key nutrients. The wrestlers fed with a mixture of bull and pig meat to get protein. The ancient Egyptians used substances from the backs of the donkeys, while the Roman gladiators drank stimulating substances before entering the arena. Years have passed, but the great desire of many athletes to win at any price has remained unchanged over the centuries.

Nowadays, athletes can do everything in order to win the games. They consume substances as Steroids, Strychnine, Stimulants and Anabolic steroids. Furthermore, in corresponding interviews they answer that they could even die for the victory. However, many sports organizations have banned the use of performance-enhancing drugs and have very strict rules and penalties for people who are caught using them.