Athletes Still Using “Legal” Doping
Legal doping is a term that refers to the practice of taking prescription drugs that may improve performance, but are not currently a banned drug per the World Anti-Doping Agency. Experts believe that some Olympic athletes may be be engaging in this practice.
Maria Sharapova admitted back in march that she was taking the prescription drug meldonium, which can increase blood flow. The drug was banned just 2 months prior to her coming forward. While she is ineligible to compete to compete for 2 years, others who took the drug before the ban are still are included. Below are the Countries with the most doping Violations.
Over 100 athletes have been tested positive for the drug. Most of which, however, are still allowed to complete because drug levels were low and may only indicate use prior to the ban.
Meldonium is a drug used to treat heart disease by improving blood flow. In this way, it also increases endurance. Thus increasing the amount of oxygen getting to the muscles needed to perform. It was developed in Latvia, and has been around since the 1980’s. Sarapova notes that she had been using the drug for 10 years prior to the ban. A study revealed that the drug was using in 2015 European games in 15 out of 21 total sports.
But it’s not known exactly how much, if any, the drug gives the athletes an advantage. But many are willing to try it, even if it gives them just a slight edge. A similar drug used in telmisartan – but that one hasn’t been prohibited yet.
And sadly, these aren’t the more potent drugs that athletes really want – and some of them are keeping a close eye on drug development. Moreover, it takes some time to evaluate whether a new drug is actually enhancing performance, and should be banned. During this window of time, athletes can take advantage of new drugs.
In other words, banning drugs doesn’t actually prevent doping overall, because athletes are usually one step ahead of the Anti-Doping powers-that-be.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
Related: About The World Anti-Doping Agency