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Olympic Doping 2012

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The Olympics may be over, but drug abuse in athletic sports is never ending. The Olympics took place this year in London, England and it brought athletic competition, stories of personal triumphs overcoming incredible odds, and also controversy. It is an unfortunate but prevalent fact that drug testing, and even drug abuse has come into the international spotlight in this years Olympic Games.

Olympic Doping

The doping case that got the most media attention this year is Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old Chinese swimmer. Shiwen has passed all drug tests administered by the I.O.C. (International Olympic Committee) for any PED’s (performance enhancing drugs). It is her superhuman swimming abilities (e.g.; besting a men’s time on the 50m freestyle leg of a 200m medley) that has surrounded Ye with doping questions. Since 1968, the I.O.C. has created and used these tests for any substance that artificially boosts performance. While these tests have proven effective over the years, the argument in Ye’s case is: are there new PED’s available that mask their affects on the tests?

Other “Doping” Cases

While PED’s usually imply some type of substance that aids physical enhancement or performance boosting, there are also cases of blatant narcotic and alcohol (and even caffeine) use to boost athletic proficiency. The allegation that the world’s greatest athletes would utilize substances as destructive as amphetamines, benzodiazepines (Xanax), and copious amounts of caffeine or alcohol to achieve success seems counter-intuitive. The reality is that Olympic athletes can also be addicts; they use drugs in a similar manner as a daily recreational user: to change (chemically) their circumstances.

Consequences and Help

The bottom line is that addiction does not discriminate. It afflicts and enslaves the whole spectrum of humanity, including those that have everything, and those that have nothing. Sometimes a goal in life, like pursuing an Olympiad, can supersede the real issues of dealing with mental health and addictions. The good news is that addiction treatment is accessible; help is always available for those willing to reach out, Olympian or not!

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