The Culture of Sport and Cheating

May 19, 2017

Professor Alison Heather, who heads up the ‘Heather Lab’ in the Department of Physiology at the University of Otago, discussed how cheating is now almost expected in sports. Athletes try to win by using performance enhancing drugs and then cheating on drug tests. Rules are no longer guidelines for the game but rather barriers to overcome. Cheating has become a game within the games.

Sports doping goes back to Roman times, when a concoction of bull testicles and mushrooms was the drug of choice. The Greeks even fed their honey alcohol to their gladiatorial horses as well. Drug testing began at the Olympics in 1968, but tests did not become sensitive until 15 years later with mass spectrometry of urine samples. As a result, 21 medals (11 gold) were stripped at the Pan American games and 31% of athletes chose not to show up once they found out that the drug tests would be held.

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