Illegal Performance-Enhancing Drugs in the Olympics

If an elite athlete confesses to (or is caught) doping, should he or she be banned from all future Olympic competition? Get-Fit Guy tackles the thorny question of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Ben Greenfield,
February 21, 2014

Some of the performances in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been nothing short of amazing. But last week, one of the male biathlon competitors confessed to doping.

And this got my nerdy nutritionist and physiologist brain thinking: Should an athlete who has been banned in the past for using illegal performance enhancing drugs be allowed to ever compete again in the Olympics?

While there are no athletes currently competing in the current winter Olympic games that – to my knowledge – have been previously banned for using steroids, let’s look at a famous athlete like cyclist Lance Armstrong. Lance has admitted to using illegal performance enhancing drugs, but has also claimed he was “clean” when he returned to the sport.

However, a recent study revealed that even brief exposure to performance-enhancing drugs may be permanently “remembered” by muscles and actually boost performance several years later. It’s almost as if the body resets its expectations of what it is capable of performing to a higher level…after you’ve given it a bit of a boost.

So what do you think? Do you think that athletes who have previously been found to use things like steroids, hormones, blood doping, etc. should ever be allowed to compete again in a sanctioned event such as the Olympics? Post your thoughts in comments below or at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy.

Doping image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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