Russian Doping Scandal

Westcott, Doping Infographic.pngThe 2016 Olympics lacked the presence of many Russian athletes, because of a recent scandal that left the country devastated as they watched the Olympics with many of their star athletes absent, some that did compete were met with harsh greetings from the crowds.

The Russian Olympic team suffered a big setback in this year’s Olympics when they were caught systematically cheating. 118 of 389 athletes from 30 different sports and all 68 track and field athletes were banned from the Olympics due to doping to better enhance their athletic ability. The team issued drugs and cover-ups to all the athletes that qualified.

“It is simply unfair that all 68 track and field athletes were banned even though they were not all doping,” said James Slawter, a member of the cross country and track and field team at Reynolds.

Famous woman’s 800-meter runner, Yulia Setpanova, helped uncover the doping scandal. She recorded her coaches and teammates when they spoke about the drugs. Fear that she would receive consequences from the Russian Government, she fled to an undisclosed location.

Russian swimmer and two-time silver medalist at the 2016 games Yulia Efimova, recently was released from a ban that lasted from October of 2013 to February of 2016. She tested positive for Melidonium, which is a drug that can accelerate and slowdown the speed at which hormones function. The drug was added in January of 2016 to the World Anti-Doping Agency, officially banning it from professional athletics.

There are four main types of performance enhancing drugs. Stimulants, like amphetamines, are used in medicines for treating ADHD (Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder) that help athletes focus. Anabolic stimulants, like Nandrolone, increase protein within cells, especially skeletal muscles, and contribute to developing and maintaining masculine characteristics, similar to testosterone. Diuretics are drugs that increase urine volume and rapidly helps lose weight to fit weight classes in sports like wrestling and boxing. Blood doping agents like EPO, which is a drug that regulates red blood cell production, are well-known because of cycler Lance Armstrong. Blood doping is the action of injecting oxygenated blood into the circulatory system to enhance performance in athletic events.

A big controversy surrounds whether the whole Russian team should have been banned or if the Olympic committee made the right decision.

“The difference between the two is whether you intend to punish the athletes who were doping or if the intent is to punish the entire Soviet system,” Civics and Economics teacher, Christopher Wiley said.

During the Seuol Olympics in 1988, Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis raced for the gold in the finals for the 100m sprint. Johnson came in first, but was soon stripped of his gold after he tested positive for stanzolol, an anabolic stimulant. Lewis was also accused of using steroids, but avoided penalty by blaming his positive tests on cold medicine. World famous cyclist, Lance Armstrong, was stripped of all of his Tour de France victories after he was accused of blood doping in 2012.

Since performance enhancing drugs are somewhat expensive, and hard to obtain, it is not a problem facing high school athletic programs.

“My initial impression is that the system that we have in place right now is somewhat sufficient. I don’t think we are dealing in large part at a high school level,” Wiley said.

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