History of Drug Use in Sports Assignment
HISTORY OF DRUG USE IN SPORTS
Professional sports had become an integral part of the Grecian society from around 400 BC. Massive spectator sports were organized and the large rewards handed out to the victors created a class of highly paid athletes, which caused the practice of being an amateur athlete slowly fading out of practice. Ever since Plato, literature pertaining to such sports reveal the worth of a victory in ancient Olympics was almost as much as half a million dollars in todays times. Further, athletes got other benefits like food, homes, and tax exemptions. They were even permitted to avoid military service. The rise of professionalism and commercialization of the games eventually gave way to corrupt practices. Deception and bribery became an everyday affair, and participants were willing to try any ‘elixir’ that could improve their abilities, including extracts of mushrooms and plant seeds. Aside from political intervention, one of the main reasons for the dissolution of the ancient Olympic Games was drug use.
The prominence of sport as a social affair and the elevation received by professional athletes was prevalent in the Roman period as well. But, there was a marked difference in the sports like by the Romans and Greeks respectively. Throngs of people visited gladiatorial competitions and chariot races, and were perpetually popular among the citizens (“Give them bread and circuses”). In order to facilitate the sitting of such a large number of people, the Coliseum was restructured in 100AD to hold 60,000 spectators.
Drug use in sporting events has been put on record for this era. Horses being used in chariot races were fed a potent mixture so that they may run faster. Scores of gladiators used drugs to fight with vigour and bloodlust for the entertainment of the public. The advent of Christianity led to a conclusion of these early games. The violent nature of many Roman sports was not conducive to the new order in society. In 396AD, the Emperor Theodosius ended the practice and performance of ancient games with a rule banning all forms of ‘pagan’ sports.
It was only at the end of the nineteenth century that an organized and sophisticated treatment of sports arose. This was impacted in a major way by The Industrial Revolution Development of new technology, means of communication and transportation ushered in a changed lifestyle for the people and impacted the world of sports too. Sports came to take the form of a social activity for those at the status of being able to afford it. New equipment was produced using more advanced technologies. Sports like golf, tennis and cricket were amongst the ones to benefit the most. Other innovations also played an important role, for instance, the electric light that allowed sports to be played at night too. Development of better communication channels allowed sports news to be sent out and received rapidly via cable and telephone lines. Transportation improvements facilitated inter-town and, eventually, international competition. All of these issues played a role in increasing the prevalence and prominence of sporting and recreational activities.
Sports adopted a new dimension quite distinct from the frivolous activity that it had previously been considered. For some, it became a profession. For newspapers in particular, the commercial aspect of sports was very lucrative. Matches and sporting events were organized by newspapers (for example, the Tour the France) to derive news out of.
Around the tail-end of the 19th century, sports began to regain the importance that it had held in Greek and Roman civilizations. Developments in the fields of technology, in addition to those in social, economic and political domains affected the development and treatment of sports development in the twentieth century. The performance and practice of sports had acquired a business aspect to itself by facilitating a considerable global means of entertainment, revenue and employment. It also adopted an aspect of being a social institution and success in this field was well regarded in society. Such developments prompted athletes to not merely succeed but to be unparalleled in their respective fields. This stress from society and the business aspect of sports was perhaps one of the main causes for the propitious rise in the number of drug cases. At the start of the previous century, athletes were suspected to use ether, cocaine and morphine rather regularly. The late 1930s saw the introduction of amphetamines to the sport market. These were used very extensively by soldiers and in particular by pilots during the Second World War. In the 1960s, amphetamines were replaced by anabolic steroids. The most recent introductions to the world of sports drugs are the erythropoietin (EPO) and human growth hormone (hGH), both of which have arrived rather recently in sports.
COMMERCIALIZATION AND GLOBALIZATION OF SPORTS
The commercialization of sports is regarded as one of the main reasons for the prevalence of structural use of drugs in sports. The massive stakes involved in any sport make it vital for one to win and be in the limelight. Aside from the internal desire to win, sportsmen and woman also take the stress and strain of winning and losing and the economic consequences of the same. Hence, we assess the hypothesis that the business aspect of sports leads to higher incidences and likelihood of doping.