February 6, 2006
The 2006 Winter Olympics
have already sparked some controversy.
"'Doping is cheating.
Doping is akin to death. Death physiologically, by profoundly altering,
sometimes, irreversibly, normal processes through unjustified manipulations.
Death physically, as certain tragic cases in recent years have shown.
But also death spiritually and intellectually, by agreeing to cheat
and conceal one's capabilities, by recognising one's incapacity
or unwillingness to accept oneself, or to transcend one's limits.
And finally death morally, by excluding oneself de facto
from the rules of conduct required by all human society.' H. E.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, President, International Olympic Committee"
While few will argue that
performance enhancing drugs are fair, many fail to remember that
their use does more than just cheat one's opponents -- their use
"People have always
attempted to artificially improve their performances using relatively
simple methods. At the Rome Games in 1960, a Danish runner died
after having taken a strong dose of amphetamines. The history of
the Games is littered with doping cases that have always damaged
the spirit of sport as much as the athletes themselves. That is
why, for more than 30 years, the IOC has been radically
against doping for the following principles:
* Protecting athletes' health
* Respecting medical and sporting ethics
* Maintaining equal opportunities for all during competitions
These principles are accompanied by a list of prohibited substances,
methods and manipulations. Chemical substances such as diuretics,
hormones, EPO, steroids, etc. are prohibited."
With so many substances
to remember, athletes must be vigilant.
"It is each Athlete's
personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his
or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance
or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their bodily
Specimens. ... The Prohibited List is the list published and revised
by WADA pursuant to the Code. The NOCs [National Olympic Committees]
shall be responsible for ensuring that their delegations, including
their Athletes, are made aware of such Prohibited List. Ignorance
of the Prohibited List shall not constitute any excuse whatsoever
for any participant in any capacity in the Olympic Games."
From : "Anti-Doping Rules
- Turin 2006"
Available at: http://www.olympic.org/uk/organisation/commissions/medical/full_story_uk.asp?id=1560
As we have recently seen,
not being vigilant has its consequences.
"Jan.10, 2006, 10:04
pm CST; Updated: Jan.11, 2006, 1:13 am CST
U.S. skeleton slider Zach Lund will miss this weekend's World Cup
race in Germany -- and quite possibly the Torino Olympics -- after
testing positive for a drug masking agent earlier this season. Lund,
the overall World Cup points leader and perhaps the U.S. men's best
hope for Olympic gold, was suspended Tuesday after testing positive
for the hair restoration drug Finasteride ... Finasteride, which
has been known to mask certain performance enhancing drugs, is also
sold as the brand name Propecia. Shea said Lund had only been taking
Finasteride for thinning hair, but should have known it could get
him into trouble. 'It is not a steroid. It is not an enhancer. It's
what they called a blocker,'' Shea said. 'Zach has been taking a
pill a day since 1999 to prevent male balding, losing his hair.
This drug came on the list within the last year and Zach didn't
know it. He wasn't doing due diligence and it's an athlete's responsibility.'
Banned substances include
more than just steroids and performance enhancers. Blockers, such
as Finasteride, are banned because they can hide the use of other
substances; even high levels of hemoglobin can be a cause for concern.
"Four more cross-country
skiers received five-day suspensions Friday for testing positive
for high levels of hemoglobin in their blood, bringing the total
to 12 in two days. ... There is no proof that the athletes did anything
wrong: Elevated hemoglobin can be caused by simple dehydration or
the body's acclimation to mountain air. But the test result raises
the possibility of blood doping with synthetic hemoglobin or transfusions
to increase the oxygen in the muscles. ... Athletes who fail blood
tests are retested five days later. ... 'We are confident that five
days is a sufficient time to allow for the blood values to normalize
if they are the result of living at a high altitude or dehydration,'
said Bengt Saltin, chairman of the FIS medical committee. 'However,
a five-day period is not sufficient to remove the impact of EPO
(erythropoietin) or blood transfusion.' "
Whatever the cause of the
irregular blood test, the concerns are the same: the health of the
athlete, the integrity of the athlete and the sport, and the fairness
of the event.
take anabolic steroids because of their testosterone-like effects,
such as increasing muscle mass and strength. Steroids can be taken
in the form of pills, powders, or injections. Another group of anabolic
steroids, sometimes called steroidal supplements, contain dehydroepiandrosterone
(DHEA) and/or androstenedione (also known as andro). Steroidal supplements
are often sold at health food stores or gyms. The effects of steroidal
supplements aren't well known, but it's thought that, when taken
in large doses, they cause effects similar to stronger anabolic
steroids like testosterone. Here's what is known: companies that
manufacture steroidal supplements often make claims that are false
and very little is known about the long-term effects on the body
of some of these substances."
New substances are banned
as people try to create ways to get around what is currently included
on the Prohibited List. As new uses for old substances are found,
those are often added to the list, as well.
"The Prohibited List
(List) was first published in 1963 under the leadership of the International
Olympic Committee. Since 2004, as mandated by the World Anti-Doping
Code (Code), WADA is responsible for the preparation and publication
of the List.
* The List is a cornerstone of the Code and a key component of harmonization.
* It is an International Standard identifying Substances and Methods
prohibited in-competition, out-of-competition, and in particular
* Substances and methods are classified by categories (e.g., steroids,
stimulants, gene doping).
* The use of any Prohibited Substance by an athlete for medical
reasons is possible by virtue of a Therapeutic Use Exemption."
A link to the list of banned
substances is available at the site listed above.
Questions of the Week:
For those who know they will never be drug tested, what reasons
would they have for avoiding the substances on the "Prohibited
List"? In what ways does the existence of the "Prohibited
List" affect sports at various levels? Why might the "Prohibited
List" matter to high school athletes? College athletes? and
Professional athletes? In what ways does the "Prohibited List"
fulfill the purposes for which is was created? In what ways is it
difficult for a "List" to meet those needs? How might
this "List" be valuable to those who do not participate
in organized sports?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum