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Drugs in Sport

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The nature of sports fosters a strong desire to win and some athletes will do anything to be top of their game, including cheating. This paper will look at the argument that drugs cheats within sports should be banned for life but only after a second offence has occurred. The term drugs cheats is in the context of someone using a banned substance listed in the governing bodies rules, to gain an advantage over others in a professional sporting capacity. That professional sporting capacity is in the professional circuit of said persons discipline on the main stage. This paper will look closely at cycling in particular as this sport has always been surrounded by doping allegations. Looking at the problems it causes within the sporting fraternity and the effects it has on the bigger picture. Effectively defrauding other competitors, prizes, sponsorship, their employer, team funding, appearance, or from the watching public. Looking at the term life we need to establish that it would be the persons sporting life not the personal life span. Precedence should set that people can and will make mistakes when the pressure is on. Therefore everyone deserves a second chance if they have been rehabilitated and punished, but if they re-offend then the ban should be for their sporting life.

The facts are that a drugs cheat is taking away something from the other competitors, mainly the pride of being number one. This is highlighted by the case of Floyd Landis the winner of the Tour de France 2006 who was later disqualified for doping. This man Landis cheated and got to stand on the top step of the podium in Paris, and bask in the glory of being the winner. Subsequently Óscar Pereiro Sío was awarded the Tour Winner of 2006 some two weeks later having missed out on all the glory of Paris. In the French newspaper Le Monde (Mandard S,2007) reported that Pereiro had felt deprived of the status of Tour winner on the final day and would not get that back. The winner stands to receive huge financial reward from sponsorship endorsements plus television appearances and be hailed top of their game, the best of the best. These things become hard to hand back if the person is later on found to have cheated. Bjarne Riis directeur sportif at Saxo Bank-Sungard admitted in 2007 that he won the Tour of 1996 while using erythropoietin (EPO) a form of blood doping and still holds the yellow jersey and the title to this day (Associated Press, 2007). With these confessions it then leaves the competitors that came after Riis to ask the question is it fair and what do they need to do to better him?

Michael J. Beloff, QC, English barrister wrote the following information in the article titled "Drugs, Laws and Versapaks,"

The objects of doping control are clear. The essence of a sporting contest is that it should be fairly conducted, with the competitor's success or failure being the result of natural talents: speed, skill, endurance, tactical awareness - honed, it may be, by instruction, training and body maintenance in its widest sense. The much used metaphor - a level playing field - derives from sport. The use of drugs violates all such notions of equality: the drug taker starts with an unfair advantage. Success becomes the product of the test tube, not the training track. The interests of innocent athletes need protection by punishment of the guilty (Beloff MJ, 2001).

Drugs in any sport can have a negative effect on the publicity and this can lead to poor sponsorship and funding. No one wants to associated themselves with the drugs or cheating aspects of any sport. Cycling again is a sport that has suffered over the years from bad publicity with the amount of doping allegations. These allegations can be traced back to 1920's where it was reported that the cyclist were all using cocaine and chloroform to gain the extra edge. Such is the case of Lance Armstrong, the feud of the peleton are still trying to pin a doping allegation on him today and have tried for several decades now. This can only attract bad press even though Armstrong has retired from professional cycling. David Millar was quoted in the (Telegraph,2011) 'urging the peloton to accept the FDA's findings and gain closure on the controversy surrounding Armstrong'. There have been many reports of sponsorship being withdrawn in the sport for doping allegations, Raf Casert, sports writer at Associate Press, created an article titled Continued Doping Scandals Have Some Cycling Sponsors Backpedaling, wrote the following:

In cycling, doping allegations can instantly tarnish a sponsor's reputation - and make it difficult to draw new multinational companies into the sport... Deutsche Telekom, the main sponsor of the T-Mobile team and a leading sports sponsor in Europe, last month ended its 16-year involvement in cycling because of a series of doping cases. Audi and Adidas also dropped their team... When Discovery Channel decided to end its sponsorship of Lance Armstrong's former team this year, [the] team leader... had a full replacement company lined up. But it, too, pulled out at the last minute because of doping scandals (Drugs and sports,2007).

The people that use drugs to cheat are not looking at the bigger picture and the harm it has on the sponsorship and network coverage. Another team from the world of cycling folded on the 24th June 2011, HTC Highroad failed to secure backing and Stapleton said 'that the sport's image makes it difficult to attract sponsors able to commit €10 million a year for three years.' (MacMichael



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