It is common knowledge that the main purpose of sport is to provide entertainment to the public. The fact that all hostilities ceased during the Olympic Games in ancient Greece bears testimony to that. The more intense a competition is, the more satisfied the public is. However, it has to be fair too. Therefore, ancient athletes were put on a strict diet of “cheese and water” during certain periods of time. Very often, they were temped to violate this restriction to get an edge on their rivals. At that time, coaches could offer only various herbs and mushroom concoctions that increased pain sustainability to those under their wardship (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.1). Therefore, taking performance enhancing substances was not something reprehensible back then. However, recently developed performance boosting drugs have turned doping into a big problem. The first recorded athlete’s death caused by doping took place in 1886, when Andrew Linton, a cyclist from Welsh, died during a race from Paris to Bordeaux. In this case, an alcohol-based product was used by him to ease pain and increase stamina (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.2). The turning point in the development of doping came in 1935, after Nazi doctors succeeded in developing injectable testosterone capable of increasing aggressiveness in soldiers.. It is believed that German athletes owed their successes during the 1936 Olympics to this newly developed synthetic drug (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.3). The formula of power boosters was brought to the Soviet Union by German scientists defecting to this country after World War II. During the Cold War between the USA and the USSR, John Ziegler, a physician for the U.S. weightlifting team, created in cooperation with the CIBA Pharmaceutical Company, methandrostenolone, an oral anabolic steroid. The drug appeared on the market in 1960, the year of the Olympics. During these games, Knut Jensen, a cyclist from Denmark, lost consciousness and died while competing in the 100-kilometer (62-mile) race. His death was caused by amphetamines and nicotinyl tartrade (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para. 4). As a remedial measure, athletes were required to have a drug test, and only one of them failed it in 1968 (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.5), it was ineffective at the beginning. For a long time, the progress in testing technology did not catch up with the one in designing new performance increasing drugs. For instance, during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, East German women swimmers won most of the medals. Although they had man-sized muscles and deep voices, none of them failed the test. Later, several East German swimmers admitted to having been given steroid injections since the age of thirteen. The injections resulted in long-term health consequences ranging from liver damage to infertility (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.6). Detecting illegal performance enhancing substances was made easier in 1983, when a newly developed technology for analyzing blood was deployed during the PanAm Games in Caracas, Venezuela. In that year, sixteen athletes from several countries tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Besides, a lot of athletes, including twelve members of the U.S. track and field squad, withdrew from the event to escape the embarrassment of being caught cheating (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.7). The first top athlete’s disqualification took place in 1988, when the Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of both his gold medal and his world record in the 100-meter (109-yard) dash after testing positive for the banned steroid stanozolol. Later on, it became known that a number of U.S. track and field athletes had tested positive for illicit drugs before the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para.8). Since then, doping techniques have kept being modified to cheat the known testing methods, while testing has kept being adjusted to these modifications. For example, in 2003 one of American track and field coaches handed over to the authorities a syringe containing what turned out to be tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), a previously unknown anabolic steroid. It did not take long for scientists to develop a test capable of detecting THG (Jacobson, 2008, The BALCO Scandal section, para.1). The aim of this paper is, therefore, to answer the question of whether the current approach to doping prevention in sports is effective. Following a review of five sources, it is argued that the current state of doping prevention in sport requires new methods to be developed for the solution of this problem.
According to an article from Encyclopedia.com (Jacobson, 2008), modern performance boosters are extremely harmful and known drug testing techniques can not cope with them. According to this source, the most common performance enhancing drugs are anabolic steroids (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs section, Anabolic Steroids subsection, p. 1). Drugs of this type cause accelerated muscle growth and reduce recovery time between workouts, thus allowing their users to train harder (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs section, Anabolic Steroids subsection, para. 2). Their dosage during doping is ten to one hundred times higher than those used for medical purposes. Moreover, many athletes take a mix of oral steroids in conjunction with a mix of injectable ones, a practice called “stacking”. “Pyramiding” is another practice that requires athletes to take drugs in cycles of six to twelve weeks. During pyramiding, a slow increase in a dosage in the first half of the cycle is followed by a slow decrease in the second half of the cycle (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Anabolic Steroids subsection, para. 4). Steroids cause a number of diseases, such as liver and kidney tumors, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, fluid retention, and severe acne. There are claims that steroid abuse can result in serious cardiovascular problems, including cardiomyopathies (inflammation of the heart muscle), irregular heart rhythm, development of embolisms (blockage of an artery by a clot or particle carried in the bloodstream), and heart failure. Male abusers very often suffer from shrunken testicles, reduced sperm count, baldness, breast development, and increased risk of prostate cancer. The damage steroids cause to females includes growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, menstrual cycle disruptions, and deepening of the voice”. Steroids cause the bones of adolescents to fuse ahead of schedule and interrupt their growth in teenagers. The tendons that connect big muscles grown with the aid of steroids to bones are not strong enough in adolescents.
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Teenage athletes suffer from frequent injuries
1). Steroids cause such non-physical symptoms as extreme mood swings, depression, paranoid jealousy, irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment (Jacobson, 2008, Health Risks of Steroid Use section, para. 2). Other widely known performance boosters include erythropoietin (EPO), creatine, androstenedione, and ephedra (Jacobson, 2008). Some of them have only recently become detectible by drug tests. Therefore, they have been available without a prescription for a long time (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Other Substances and Supplements subsection, para. 1), which provides further evidence on inefficiency of the current approach to doping prevention in sport. EPO abuse results in increased blood density due to a large number of extra red blood cells heart attacks and strokes. Synthetically produced in the 1980s, EPO is believed to have caused deaths of thirty top endurance athletes (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Erythropoietin subsection, para. 1). Creatine is reputed to improve performance in sports that involve short bursts of power, such as weightlifting, wrestling, and sprinting. Evidence suggests that overdosing may cause kidney, liver, and heart problems. Besides, there are numerous side effects that include muscle cramps and digestive problems, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Creatine subsection, para. 1). In the 1950s, scientists realized that androstenedione (or andro) turns into testosterone in the body. In its turn, testosterone is responsible for increase in muscle mass, energy and strength (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Androstenedione subsection, para. 2). Side effects caused by the abuse of andro are similar to those associated with other anabolic steroids. Besides, this substance can actually decrease testosterone production in men and increase production of the female hormone estrogen. Males taking andro could experience acne, shrinking of the testicles, and reduced sperm count, while females may suffer from acne and the onset of masculine characteristics, such as deepening of the voice and male-pattern baldness (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Androstenedione subsection, para. 3). It was not until 2004 that andro was officially banned for use as a performance booster (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Androstenedione subsection, p. 2). It means that sports regulatory authorities are too slow to combat doping effectively.
The main ephedra ingredient is ephedrine, which is a powerful stimulant, similar to amphetamines (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Ephedra subsection, para.1). Ephedra is addictive and has serious side effects, such as strokes, seizures, and heart attacks. It is known to have caused deaths of many athletes. Besides, its use can induce elevation of sugar level in blood and irregular heartbeats. One of the identified factors that contributed to the death of the Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler in 2003 was a heatstroke caused by ephedra. The incident caused the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) to prohibit sale of ephedra without prescription at the end of 2003. Since this was done in a hurry, a federal judge overturned the FDA’s ban on procedural grounds. It was not until after the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was signed into law on March 9, 2006, that ephedrine-containing products became illegal (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Ephedra subsection, para. 2). Therefore, bureaucracy hampers drug restriction actions and causes significant gaps between taking a drug test and doping identification. That was the case with the American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who retired in 2005 after winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France. The same year, EPO was found in Armstrong’s old laboratory samples from the 1999 Tour de France. However, a six-year gap undermines the validity of such findings due to the fact that too many people had an access to these samples. Therefore, next year after his retirement investigators cleared Armstrong of the charges (Jacobson, 2008, Steroids in Professional Sports section, Cycling subsection, para. 1). Multiple disqualifications of athletes took place, because investigations were not directly related to drug testing. For instance, it was discovered in 1998 that a masseur of the Festina cycling team possessed various banned substances. As a result, the whole team was thrown out of the competition. Moreover, the discovery of banned drugs in the offices of the Cofidis cycling team in 2004 was followed by David Millar’s banning from Tour de France. At that time, he was a time trial world champion (Jacobson, 2008, Steroids in Professional Sports section, Cycling subsection, para. 1). Armstrong’s example undermines the fairness of such actions. Although I believe that drug testing techniques significantly hamper the development of new performance boosters, some disqualifications were directly caused by the testing. For example, the German cyclist Patrik Sinkewitz failed a drug test while being in a training camp before Tour de France in 2007 (Jacobson, 2008, Steroids in Professional Sports section, Cycling subsection, para. 3). Therefore, I can assert that athletes do engage in doping despite extreme harmfulness of performance enhancing drugs.
Bad example for teenagers
In his article, Cook (2004) argues that such irresponsible athletes provide a bad example to teenagers who try to imitate their idols. As a result, the rate of performance booster usage among adolescents is steadily rising. Drug testing is expensive, and only large school districts can afford it. It is inefficient too. The situation is worsened by the fact that besides college students, high school students also abuse performance enhancing drugs (Cook, 2004). According to the article, the University of Michigan sponsors a research team that surveys 50, 000 high school students annually about the use of steroids and other substances. Its head is Lloyd Johnston, who reports that a steady growth in the number of male students on steroids in 1994 was followed by a slight drop in 2003. At the same time, the number for girls, while rising slightly, remains statistically insignificant compared to that of boys. According to the team’s findings, the biggest jump was recorded in 1998-99. That year, Mark McGwire, a St. Louis Cardinals slugger, set the since unbroken record of 70 home runs in one season. Andro was legal at that time, and McGwire admitted to having used it. Lloyd Johnston blamed the media for influencing teenagers by mentioning McGwire’s use of andro, and showing his famously large forearms (Cook, 2004, p. 15). Since experimental data provide much stronger information about cause-and-effect relationships than do observational data (Neter, Kutner, Nachtsheim, & Wasserman, 1996, p. 15), the accusations need need to be further verified. According to Johnston, every thirtieth high school student used steroids in 2004. Studies performed in Louisiana by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 11% of male high school students admitted to having used steroids in 2001. Another survey of 500 students conducted in 2004 indicated that 11% of boys and 5 % of girls confessed to using performance boosters. Although the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) randomly tests athletes for use of steroids, a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations and National Center for Drug Free Sport Inc, in June 2003 suggests that only 13 % of American high schools care about drug testing. Therefore, most American high school students have nothing to fear about when it comes to engaging in doping (Cook, 2004, p. 15). A high cost of such random testing is not the only excuse for this. Another one is the way doping occurs. The thing is that athletes take steroids in cycles of usually 6 to 12 weeks, and perhaps they will not have the drug in their system when a random test is administered. Besides, according to Larry Bowers, a senior managing director of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a number of dietary supplements available in the market can be classified as rather potent androgenic-anabolic steroids (Cook, 2004, p. 16). Therefore, steroids found in test samples can be very often explained by the use of legal drugs, which makes punishment of kids impossible (Cook, 2004, p. 18). Nevertheless, there are sufficiently large districts that can afford testing for steroids and supplements. One of them is Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix. During the 1992-2004 period, 24 randomly chosen student athletes were tested for steroids and other drugs every month. Only six of the students tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, alcohol was identified in two, and the rest tested positive for prescription medications that they took in 2003 and 2004. Thus, it is hoped that such testing provides a good deterrent for high school students. However, voluntary testing for high school students was administered at California’s Arcadia Unified School District in the mid 1980s (Cook, 2004, p. 17). According to Joan Steinmeier, an Arcadia school board member, very often positive test results stemmed from the teenager’s use of legal drugs (Cook, 2004, p. 18). Since school authorities could not do anything about it, testing was substituted for lessons on the effects of steroids for middle school, as well as high school students (Cook, 2004, p. 17). Moreover, Linn Goldberg, a doping control officer for the U. S. Anti-Doping Agency, admits that drug testing is “problematic” due to the widespread use of legal drugs (Cook, 2004, p. 16). Thus, opinions held by Goldberg and Steinmeier undermine the effectiveness of drug testing. Goldberg also admits that testing is very expensive and should be accompanied with educational programs that promote a healthy way of life.
Two programs for high school students: Atlas and Athena
ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) and ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives) (Cook, 2004, p. 16). The effectiveness of their testing was based on a survey of high school students who participated in the programs (Goldberg et al., 1996 p. 1555; Ranby et al., 2009, p. 1). However, according to Leigh Steinberg, a California-based agent who represented NFL players for three decades, young people believe they are omnipotent, and long-term health for them is an abstraction. Since top teenage athletes engage in performance booster abuse to obtain scholarships (Cook, 2004, p. 17), the effectiveness of educational programs on discouraging of doping is questionable, too. Unlike adolescent athletes, adult athletes often become victims of federal investigations. One of them is described in the last three articles presented in this review. Since it resembles a witch hunt (Dohrmann, 2004), I claim that investigations do not provide sufficient remedy to the way doping in sport is approached. In his article, Starr (2003) describes the first stage of the investigation, which was initiated following an anonymous track coach’s sending a sample of tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The “whistle-blower” stated that this substance could be classified as a steroid and could not be identified by existing tests. He also informed that its producer was Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) (Starr, 2003, p. 4). As a result, BALCO facilities were searched by different federal agencies, which confiscated containers of steroids, human growth hormone and synthetic testosterone. 40 athletes were invited to testify before a grand jury in San Francisco regarding this matter (Starr, 2003, p. 2). All of them denied any wrongdoing (Starr, 2003, p. 3). A BALCO’s representative denied providing athletes with steroids as well (Starr, 2003, p. 4). Soon, a new testing technique capable of detecting THG was developed (Starr, 2003, p. 5), thus initiating sample re-testing all over the world. Dwain Chambers, a BALCO’s client and a famous sprinter, was among the first to fail re-testing. However, he denied intentional use of steroids. Another BALCO’s client, Kelli White, tested positive for the stimulant modafinil, which she used to combat narcolepsy (Starr, 2003, p. 6). According to Chrles Yesalis, co-editor of Performance-Enhancing Substances in Sport and Exercise, athlete disqualifications were mainly initiated by police actions rather than by drug testing in the 1994-2004 period (Starr, 2003, p. 7). The fact indicates that investigation of this type provides a rare chance to remedy the current approach to doping in sport.
In an article by Dohrmann (2004), further development of the scandal is described. The fact that the investigation being discussed pursues the noble aim of fighting drug abuse explains why punishment for Kelli White and other track and field athletes was not very severe and only required them to admit their guilt (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 2, p. 4). Another drawback of this technique is its restricted timing. Since stress influenced performance of athletes, their status had to be resolved before Olympic trials (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 3). However, there were athletes that had too much to lose. Among those who did not admit the guilt was Marion Jones (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 12). The media intrusion in her private life can be classified as investigation drawback (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 13), because it provided one more reason for Morion to stop all this by accepting her guilt. USADA’s protocols permit disqualification on the basis of evidence from an investigation (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 14). In Jones’s case, a transaction between her bank account and BALCO’s owner’s account was such evidence. However, her lawyer explained that the check that initiated the transaction was signed by her ex-husband C.J. Hunter, a former shot putter, who got a two-year ban for steroid use in 2000, and Morion Jones knew nothing about it (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 12). Perhaps that was the reason why she had not been charged with any violations at the time of Olympic trials that year (Starr, 2004, p. 7). In an article by Starr (2004), performance of top American athletes that were on these trials is discussed. Many of those targeted by BALCO-related investigation did not get a ticket to Athens (Starr, 2004, p. 6). Marion Jones showed unexpectedly poor performance, too (Starr, 2004, p. 4). However, she managed to get a place on the Olympic team, though in her weakest event, i.e. long jump (Starr, 2004, p. 10). Significant deterioration of her performance can be explained by the fact that she was off during a prior season to give birth to her son. Other contributing factors included severe stress and daily distractions (Starr, 2004, p. 8). An article from Encyclopedia.com (Jacobson, 2008), provides information about the end of the story. Marion Jones was cleared of charges following negative testing of another blood sample in 2006. However, the cost of defending herself brought her to the brink of financial ruin. In 2007, she admitted to having engaged in doping during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia (Jacobson, 2008, The BALCO Scandal section, para. 3). Therefore, those who accepted the interrogators’ offer turned out to be better off than Marion Jones. As far as I am concerned, such an investigation can not be considered efficient.
Despite being extremely efficient, power boosters are extremely harmful, too (Jacobson, 2008). There are many legal dietary supplements that can be used to enhance performance (Cook, 2004, p. 16). To spot abusers, sport regulatory authorities use drug testing (Jacobson, 2008). Besides, protocols of anti-doping organizations allow disqualification of athletes not only on the basis of a drug test results, but also on the basis of other evidence found during an investigation (Dohrmann, 2004, p. 14).
The rate of performance boosters usage among college and high school students has been on the rise lately (Cook, 2004, p. 15). In an attempt to curb the rising trend, some large school districts conduct drug testing (Cook, 2004, p. 17). In addition, many school districts launch various education programs to persuade teenagers not to use performance enhancing drugs (Cook, 2004, pp. 16–17).
The aim of this research is, therefore, to qualitatively estimate efficiency of the current approach to doping prevention in sport.
I claim that the current approach to doping prevention in sport is inefficient due to the following reasons:
- Modern power boosters are extremely harmful.
- Modern power boosters are extremely efficient.
- Drug testing is inefficient.
- Investigations of doping cases are biased.
- There are many legal dietary supplements that can be used to enhance performance.
- Top athletes provide a bad example to teenagers.
- Only large school districts can afford drug testing.
- Teenagers can not be punished for using legal drugs.
- Effectiveness of educational programs designed to persuade adolescents not to use power boosters is questionable.
The first fact is supported by precise laboratory analyses conducted during investigations of numerous athletes’ deaths (Jacobson, 2008). The second one can be supported by numerous cases of top athletes’ testing positive (Jacobson, 2008). However, since top athletes very often provide legitimate explanations, a little research bias is present here. The third reason is supported by an opinion of a knowledgeable person. According to Chrles Yesalis, co-editor of Performance-Enhancing Substances in Sport and Exercise, athlete disqualifications were mainly initiated by police actions rather than drug testing in the 1994-2004 period (Starr, 2003, p. 7). Since this is only an observation (Neter et. al, 1996, p. 15), a research bias is present. However, the BALCO scandal provides an example of drug testing inefficiency reducing this bias (Jacobson, 2008, The BALCO Scandal section, p. 1). The scandal also illustrates the fourth reason (Jacobson, 2008; Starr, 2003; Dohrmann, 2004; Starr, 2004). The fifth one is supported by Larry Bowers, senior managing director of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, as well as Joan Steinmeier, a board member of Arcadia school (Cook, 2004, p. 16, p.18). It is worth mentioning that Bowers is interested in distorting the truth and putting the blame for high rates of performance booster abuse on another agency. On the other hand, Steinmeier is interested in distorting the truth and providing an excuse for termination of drug testing by California’s Arcadia Unified School District (Cook, 2004, pp. 17–18). However, scientists realized that andro is a power-enhancing supplement developed in the 1950s, and it was officially declared illegal only in 2004 (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Androstenedione subsection, p. 2). Therefore, I do not have the right to badmouth Larry Bowers and Joan Steinmeier for such extremely slow drug restriction. Moreover, the ephedra banning incident illustrates the point that bureaucracy does significantly hinder the drug restriction process (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Ephedra subsection, para. 2). The sixth reason is illustrated by the coincidence between the recorded increase in the rate of performance booster abuse among teenage athletes and setting of a new record by Mark McGwire, a St. Louis Cardinals slugger, who admitted to having used andro, which was legal at that time (Cook, 2004, p. 15). Since experimental data provide much more reliable information about cause-and-effect relationships than do observational data, research bias is present (Neter et. al, 1996, p. 15). The seventh reason is confirned by a survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations and National Center for Drug Free Sport Inc. in June 2003. According to the survey, only 13 % of American high schools conduct drug testing (Cook, 2004, p. 15). The eighth reason is common knowledge, while the ninth is illustrated by the facts set forth below. The quality of two educational programs designed to persuade adolescents not to use power boosters, such as ATLAS and ATHENA, was assessed by their author; the assessment was carried out by questioning assessment participants. The outcome of these studies was good effectiveness of ATLAS and ATHENA programs (Goldberg et al., 1996 p. 1555; Ranby et al., 2009, p. 1). However, according to Leigh Steinberg, a California-based agent, who represented NFL players for three decades, it is difficult for adolescents to realize the danger to their health. Besides, they have incentives in the form of various scholarships for teenage athletes (Cook, 2004, p. 17). Therefore, I assume that there is research bias in the abovementioned assessments.
Sporting events are conducted to entertain public; therefore, quality of a show has to be high and competitions fair. From ancient times, athletes have used different performance enhancing substances to get an advantage over their rivals. Although it was illegal, control over such practices was not very tight (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para. 1). However, technological progress, experiments on human beings conducted by Nazi doctors, and the Cold War turned it into a big problem (Jacobson, 2008, A Brief History of Doping section, para. 4). Numerous disqualifications of top athletes indicate that modern performance enhancing drugs are extremely efficient. At the same time, multiple deaths caused by abuse of performance boosters during sporting events or after intensive workouts imply their extreme harmfulness (Jacobson, 2008). The gap between the moment of realizing a drug as a power enhancer and proclaiming it illegal can amount to 50 years, as was the case with andro (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Androstenedione subsection, para. 2). The story of proclaiming ephedra illegal illustrates the point that bureaucracy hinders drug restriction (Jacobson, 2008, What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs? section, Ephedra subsection, para. 2). The BALCO-related scandal sheds some light on the fact that new drugs created for doping are designed to cheat existing test methods (Jacobson, 2008, The BALCO Scandal section, para. 1). In the 1994-2004 period, athletes’ disqualifications were mainly initiated by police actions, rather than drug testing (Starr, 2003, para. 7). Therefore, drug testing is not very effective. Protocols of sport regulatory agencies, such as USADA, allow disqualification of athletes on the basis of evidence obtained during doping investigations (Dohrmann, 2004, para. 14). Very often such investigations turn into a witch hunt, as it was during the BALCO-related scandal (Jacobson, 2008; Starr, 2003; Dohrmann, 2004; Starr, 2004). Therefore, their effectiveness can be called into question, too. The increase in the rate of performance booster abuse among teenage athletes happened in the same year Mark McGwire admitted to having used andro, a substance that was legal at that time (Cook, 2004, p. 15). The incident shows that athletes provide a bad example to adolescents, who try to imitate them. A survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations and National Center for Drug Free Sport Inc. in June 2003 indicates that the majority of high schools in the US can not afford drug testing (Cook, 2004, p. 15). Besides, even if students do test positive, they can not be punished for using legal drugs. To remedy the situation, school districts launch various educational programs aimed at discouraging teenagers from using performance boosters (Cook, 2004, p. 16). However, Leigh Steinberg, a California-based agent, who represented NFL players for three decades, claims that it is difficult for an adolescent to fully apprehend danger to his/her health. Besides, teenagers have incentives in the form of various scholarships for adolescent athletes (Cook, 2004, p. 17). Therefore, the effectiveness of this remedial measure is questionable.
Implications for Future Research
Given ongoing technological progress, new approaches need to be developed to combat doping in sport. The preventive measures discussed in this paper do not directly concern the rules of sports competitions. It is high time to sacrifice quality of a show for the sake of fairness of sports competitions. Research should also be performed to determine how the rules of various sports competitions can be altered to decrease the number of incentives for athletes to engage in doping.