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Are the demands of sport an excuse to use performance-enhancing drugs?

Being an elite athlete means that you take risks and sometimes suffer in the process, through injuries for example.

Power and performance sports require athletes to push themselves physically daily. the use of certain performance-enhancing drugs (peds) have been proven to speed recovery, allowing athletes to train harder and more regularly. Sport can become more entertaining when it’s difficult to predict a winner. In fact, in many sports, fans will flock to the support of an underdog. you can never truly predict the winner. In certain sports, the difference between winning and losing can be as little as 0.02 seconds.

Athletes can easily become tired of losing due to the small margins, which may push them to turn to peds, helping them train harder and gain that extra half a second or centimetre that they need.

A 2020 article revealed that the top 5 highest-paid athletes (Federer, Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar jr. and James) combined earnings through endorsement deals ($262 million) outweighed fees earned through salary and competition winnings ($237 million). By performing well and winning, athletes can start to endorse brands and earn a considerably higher wage. this financial benefit can entice athletes to use peds to gain endorsement deals.

We can now understand why athletes may be tempted to use peds to boost performance. however, the science surrounding how peds affect an athlete is still relatively minimal. The problem with drug testing is that scientific tests on their impacts and side effects have never been performed on elite athletes because it’s deemed unethical. This means that we don’t know how much of a boost these performance-enhancing drugs truly give to elite athletes.


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