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DRUG ADDICTION AND CHEATING: AN ABERRATION TO SPORTS ALEXANDER ANETOR OBOH INTRODUCTION Anytime an athlete breaks either a world

record or Olympic record many persons will as a result embrace the idea of scepticism and they inevitably bring up the possibility that such athlete must have had some enhancement which is of cause be illegal. This situation of addiction in the world of sports is basically and obviously not one that comes to many as a shock, rather many sports men and women see this as an avenue to get to the top through the instrumentality of some sophisticated drugs. Quite evident is that his situation is most view or recorded from the international sporting events that take place all around the globe. This precarious situation however presents recipes for laziness and uncompetitive output in an activity that should ordinarily be rigorous and competitive. This write-up will examine those instances where great sports men and women have been caught in the web of the negative use of drugs for selfish motives and as Quick Avenue to get to the top to win underserved laurels for their countries and themselves. Quite terrible!

According to the International Olympic Committee, there exists a principle of strict liability which underpins the entire doping policy. In practical terms what it really means is that an athlete is responsible for whatever is in his/her body regardless of how it got there. Suffice it to mention at this juncture that the basic reason why many athletes engage themselves in acts like this is simply to get an edge over their opponents or rivals as the case may be. The intake of these substances sort of “sky rockets” the entire system of an individual and makes such a person perform beyond expectation. This readily points to blood doping. What is blood doping if I may ask? Blood doping is the act of adding red blood cells to an individual’s blood stream. It refers particularly to the Red blood cells because they carry oxygen, and an increase of oxygen in the bloodstream raises the supply of oxygen available to booster the muscle. The increased volume of oxygen in the system enables the muscles perform more efficiently along with this efficient performance come the increase in athletic endurance. This whole doping process will consequently serve as supreme benefits to long distance runners, swimmers and cyclists. This leaves one to wonder if it is then the case that these athletes cannot rely solely on their God-given strength and well withal to accomplish what they intend to achieve.

HISTORICAL ANALYSIS In the long history of the Olympics, the issue of doping and drug addiction is not a new wave in the air; it has been an issue that has been in existence since the inception of the games. Little wonder the athletes go the extra mile. They go the extra mile not with respect to

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adequate preparations but on the contrary, they go the extra mile to take banned substances that will ordinarily spur the cells in them to perform above expectation. In 1976, in the city of Montreal, at the height of the Cold war, when Olympic sports were a cipher for political clashes between East and West, the heavily favoured Russians took on second favourites, Great Britain in the sport known as fencing leg of the modern pentathlon, Boris Onischenko had won silver in the previous two games, and was desperate to go one better. Hence he easily defeated all those who came his way. This he did without much effort until it was later discovered that on his sword there was a sort of intricate wiring system designed to register a “hit” when a small button was pressed, it was a real engineering job according to reports of some journalists. Boris was later disqualified and sent home while his nomenclature was changed to “Dishonischenko” by the British tabloids.i There were drug cheats before and there have been drug cheats since. But it took the down fall of Ben Johnson to demonstrate the apparent ubiquity of the banned substance at the very highest level of sports. In 1988 in the city of Seoul precisely on the evening of the 27 of September, this Canadian sprinter set a new world record of 9.79 seconds in the men’s 100m final, lifting his hands in triumph as he crossed the finish line ahead of arch rival Carl Lewis and Britain’s Linford Christie. This race according to some sports journalists was declared “the greatest sprint race in history”. Unfortunately as the situation will present itself, the sprint race latter became the most tarnished. Johnson was stripped of his medal, and had his record expunged after a sample of his urine tested positive for stanozolol, an illegal steroid. This sports chap initially denied cheating but later admitted and was of the opinion that the drug was endemic in top-tier athletics.th The Sydney 2000 Olympics was one that will be forever remembered. This is based on the reality that a good number of medals were withdrawn from some notable athletes like Marion Jones, Michael Johnson to mention but few. Some notable organisers of the events declared Sydney 2000 as “the best ever” even with this declarant ion many thought it was really the case, of cause Australia showed her great spirit. ii But in retrospect, the games have been terribly tarnished in the cold light of the success of the London Olympics. This is obvious because the record of the Sydney games was ruined by drug cheating. The betrayal of Olympics ideals was the work of some athletes from the United States of America. In the most glamorous athletics events of the Sydney games Six medals were stripped from America’s athletes; 4 gold, a silver and a bronze. Famous sprinter, Marion Jones popularly known as the squeaky dear queen of the track was the worst offender. She lost her gold medals for the 100 and 200 metre sprints and in total five medals was stripped from her and her relay colleagues. This was also subject to her confession in 2007. The great Michael Johnson was also caught up in this and had to return his relay gold medal. In addition, the “Swaggering” men’s 4400 relay team was another giant to fall. Three of the five member team were implicated in doping. Consequently, they all lost their great gold medals.iii One thing that really interests me at this stage is that when the American relay team was stripped of its gold medal it was ceded to the Nigerian team. It was also reported that with this development at that time, Nigeria’s 4400m relay quartet Clement Chukwu, Jude
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Monye, Sunday Bada of Blessed Memory and Enefiok Udo-Obong now stand a chance of getting the gold medal. Of course it was the Nigerian team that narrowly came second in that particular race. Consequently, many Nigerians were very happy after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped the U.S team of the medal. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York quoted a statement issued by the U.S Olympic Committee as saying the decision was basically from the admission of a member of the American quartet, Antonio Pettigrew, that he used performance-enhancing substances before, during and after the Olympics in Sydney. This admission of Pettigrew further led the IOC to sanction his teammates namely; Michael Johnson, Angelo Taylor, Jerome Young and the twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison who also lost their medals.iv In the domain of football, one of the recent happening is the case of the former Arsenal defence man Kolo Toure. Prior to Toure’s case the United Kingdom Anti-Doping warned athletes to be vigilant about the possibility of the presence of banned substances in dietary supplements that are available on the high street. However, Toure admitted the offence, saying it was his first. This offence was however contrary to Regulation three of the Football Association Doping Regulations 2010-2011. It was also the case that the panel that handled Kolo’s case took into consideration that the circumstances behind his use of water tablets belonging to his wife. After the series of debates, Toure was finally handed a Six Months ban which will restrict him from participating in any football event. With this verdict Kolo lost his captaincy to Carlos Tevez and it also came as a big blow to his coach Roberto Mancini who was at that time challenging for both the FA Cup and the Europa League as well as securing a top four berths in the Premier League. The Athens games were notorious also for drug abuse. The testing available at that time, exposed a record of 26 doping cases more than double the previous high of 12 in Los Angelis in 1984. Six Medallists including two gold medal winners were caught in Athens from among 3,600 tests. In the Beijing, 2008 Olympics, a good number of cases were reported as it concerns athletes who were involved in the use of banned substances. More recently, in the just concluded London 2012 games it was also reported that nine athletes have been banned for failing drugs tests. Among them are Ukraine’s Nataliya Tobias who after testing positive was given a two year ban, Morocco’s Mariem Alaoui Selsouli tested positive for s banned diuretic, her case is quite peculiar because she had initially tested positive and has served a ban for that offence. v Consequently, she faces a lifelong exile from the world of athletics. The bans came as a testing system 13 years in development was approved, allowing doping investigators to identify growth hormones that have been produced artificially. Interestingly, the World AntiDoping Agency noted the Games would be the most tested in history, but they never said it would be the most pure ever. Hence, it definitely would not be surprising if in the nearest future further discoveries are made with regard to athletes who took banned substances and triumphed during the sports fiesta.

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CONCLUSION There are a number of lucid facts with respect to doping and other drug related offences. This is in connection to the guilty athlete(s). It is the case that anyone who fails a test will definitely face a stigma in his/her country of origin. On another note such situation presents an appalling face to sports. It places a question mark on the integrity of an individual if an athlete is found in such a distasteful situation. Sports as an activity is done for pleasure this is require physical efforts or skill. Sports as an activity have laid down rules and regulations that guide its operation. Since this is the case, athletes should endeavour to play according to the rules and not take to the hide and fast means of engaging themselves with banned substances. Athletes and other sports men and women should come to a realization that they have made a choice and this choice is a competitive one and not a choice for doping or cheating of any kind. This I think the International Olympic Committee has made clear to every member that forms part of the Olympic nations and to the world at large. Sports men and women should shine like stars to the world. Hence, this will in turn serve as a motivating and propelling factor to young and upcoming athletes. Conclusively, I will also strictly recommend that more enlightenment should be carried out worldwide on the use of drugs and other banned substances by athletes and other sports men and women. The onus lies on the shoulders of various National Olympic Committees to rise to this occasion.

END NOTES AND REFRENCES

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i Guy, Adams. Tarnished gold some of the great Olympics Cheats available from http://www.independent.co.uk// October 16,2012//09:05pm th Ibid iiMarion Jones and the Sydney 2000 Olympics www.dailymail.co.uk/sports// October 16,2011//10:10pm iii Ibid iv Abdullahi, Shuaibu. U.S relay quartet finally punished available from http://www.nigerianobservernews.com// October18,2012//09:15pm v Drug cheats axed from London 2012 amid Team GB outcast war available from http:// www.metro.co.uk// October 20,2012//09:45pm