History Of The Use Of Doping In Sports And Other Areas

While many scholars believe that steroids were invented in the 1930s, steroids can actually be traced all the way back to the time of the Ancient Greeks. Greeks used steroids in their Olympics Games, which took place in 776-393 BCE. They used a vicious opium juice called doop. Greeks also liked to use other forms of steroids such as herbal medications, wine potions, hallucinogens, and animal hearts. The next use of steroids in history was in 100 AD when the Romans used them to prevent fatigue and injury. Gladiator competitions and chariot races were extremely popular in Ancient Roman culture as the Coliseum held 60,000 spectators at its peak. Chariot racers fed their horses specific steroid substances such as hydromel to make them run faster. Gladiators a different type of steroid called strychnine to prevent them from becoming tired, weaken their chance of injury, and make their fights a lot more intense. After the Ancient Romans’ use of steroids, there was a long period of time where steroids were not used.

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The next occurance of the use of steroids in history was in the time period of 1870-1900. French cyclists and a very successful lacrosse team began using cocoa leaves and wine. This specific type of steroid prevented them from becoming tired and hungry allowing them to compete for a long time without becoming worse. About twenty-five years later in 1904-1920 steroids were used in modern Olympics. In the 1904 Olympics, a marathon runner named Thomas Hicks used a mixture of steroids. He used brandy and strychnine and, as a result, nearly died. After this, athletes began using mixtures of strychnine, heroin, cocaine, and caffeine to improve their game. Each coach of team had their own secret formula of steroids they would use to help them win. This use of steroids continued to happen until cocaine and heroin became only available by prescription in the 1920s. In 1928, the first rule against steroids was made. The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the head organization for track and field, banned the use of doping becoming the first sport to ban some sort of steroids.

The next use of steroids was actually not in sports but in World War II. In 1940-1945, the American, British, German, and Japanese armed forces used a type of steroid called amphetamines. Amphetamines were given to soldiers so that they could counteract fatigue, elevate mood, and heighten endurance. Cocaine was previously used, but amphetamines replaced them because they can be taken orally in tablet form, and the effect lasts much longer. Not only after soldiers used amphetamines, athletes began using them in the 1950s. They were used by Dutch and Italian cyclists to minimize the uncomfortable sensations of fatigue during exercise. In 1958, the FDA approves the first anabolic steroid for sale in the United States. Dr. John Bosley Zieglar, created an anabolic steroid called Dianabol. It was released by Ciba Pharmaceuticals with FDA approval. Dr. Zieglar noted the success of the Russian weightlifting team due to their use of testosterone in the mid 195os. He then began experimenting on US weightlifters. His creation synthesizes the strength building properties of testosterone while minimizing the negative health effects. Right before he died in 1983, Dr. Zieglar spoke out against his invention and says he wishes he had never created the anabolic steroid after seeing how much athletes abused the drug.

On August 26, 1960, the first athlete died in Olympic competition due to steroid use. Danish cyclist, Knut Jensen, died on during the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome during the 100km team time trial race. His collapse caused a fracture to his skull. It is initially thought to be caused by the high temperatures that day. However, his autopsy reveals traces of a highly dangerous called called ronicol. Jensen is the second athlete ever to die during Olympic competition. The first was a marathon runner in 1912 who died from heat exhaustion. On July 14, 1967, a cyclist dies due to doping in the first Tour de France. British cyclist named Tommy Simpson, who was also named Sports Personality of the Year by the BBC in 1965, dies during the 13th stage of the Tour de France. He consumed excess amounts of amphetamines and brandy to combat all of his illness effects. He continued to ride until his body shut down. Simpson’s death created pressure for sporting agencies to do something about all of this steroid use. Partly because of Tommy Simpson’s death, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) established the Medical Commission to fight against steroid use in sports. The Commission was given three guiding principles. They were protection of the health of athletes, respect for medical and sport ethics, and equality for all competing athletes.

The first drug testing at the Olympic Games happened in the games of 1968. The IOC instituted its first compulsory doping controls at the Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble, France and again at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City in the same year. At that time the list of illegal substances included narcotic analgesics and stimulants, psychomotor stimulants, and miscellaneous central nervous system stimulants, including alcohol. Later, on May 4, 1968, the first horse was disqualified from the Kentucky Derby for banned substance. The Dancer’s Image racehorse became the only winner in the Kentucky Derby’s 134-year history to be disqualified for using a banned substance. The banned substances were noticed when traces of phenylbutazone, were found in his urine sample after the race. In 1968, an Olympic athlete was disqualified for a doping violation. Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a member of the Swedish modern pentathlon team, had his bronze medal taken away from him at the Mexico City Olympics when he tested positive for steroids. The whole Swedish team was forced to return their medals as well. Overall, steroids were a substance used by many people over the course of history in sports, the military, etc. They have always had a negative consequence and continue to take the lives so many people.

14 May 2021

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