Did You Know?
- Athletes have used extreme measures to attempt to cheat on urine drug tests, such as inserting a catheter into their penises and filling their bladders with drug-free urine, wearing a special holding bag full of clean urine attached to a prosthetic penis, and pouring whiskey into the urine sample to mask the illegal drugs.
- If one athlete on an Olympic team is found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs, the entire team may be disqualified and forced to return any medals they may have won.
- Caffeine exceeding the amount found in about eight cups of coffee was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the 1980's, but in 2004 WADA removed caffeine from the list of banned substances.
- A substance can be included on the "World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List" if it meets two of the following three criteria: 1) it is performance-enhancing, 2) it is harmful to the athlete's health, and 3) it violates the spirit of sport.
- 20% of high school students said that their decision to use anabolic steroids was influenced by professional athletes and nearly 50% said that professional athletes influenced their friends' decisions to use anabolic steroids.
- The number of NFL players that weigh more than 300 pounds increased from 10 in 1986 to more than 300 by 2004.
- The number of MLB players requesting therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit disorder (ADD) increased from 28 in 2006 to 103 (about 10% of all players) in 2007, the year after the MLB banned amphetamines. A therapeutic use exemption for ADD allows players to use stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.
- More than 40 Chinese swimmers failed drug tests between 1990 and 2000, triple the amount of any other nation's swim team in that same time period.
- The first athlete to die in Olympic competition due to doping was Danish cyclist Knut Jensen, who died on Aug. 26, 1960 at the Summer Olympics in Rome during the 100km team time trial race. His autopsy revealed traces of an amphetamine called Ronicol.
- The International Olympic Committee first instituted doping controls at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France and again at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City that same year. Anabolic steroids were added to the list of banned substances in 1975.
- Of 52 German athletes given anabolic steroids during the 1970's and 1980's who were examined in a 2007 study, one quarter got some form of cancer, one third reported thoughts or attempts of suicide, and the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth was 32 times higher than in the normal German population.
- The entire 1968 Swedish Olympic pentathlon team had to return their bronze medals because one member drank too much beer to calm his nerves before an event and was subsequently disqualified for violating the Olympic drug rules.
- Of the 21,849 drug tests conducted at the Summer Olympics from 1968-2008, there were 105 cases (0.49%) of doping violations. There have been 22 positive results (0.28%) from 7,783 tests conducted at the Winter Olympics between 1968 and 2010.
- The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned 192 performance enhancing substances and methods (as of Dec. 22, 2008) including alcohol, marijuana, testosterone, insulin, blood transfusions, and gene manipulation.
- Five-time Grand Slam tennis champion Martina Hingis was banned from tennis for two years after testing positive for cocaine in 2007. The amount of cocaine in her urine was low enough for her to have passed a drug test administered by the US military.
- Although not a performance-enhancing drug, it seems relevant in the context of this debate to note that professional golfer Tiger Woods used LASIK eye surgery to improve his vision to 20/15, meaning that he can see at 20 feet what the average person can see at 15 feet. Professional baseball player Mark McGwire wore specially-designed contact lenses to improve his vision to 20/10.