With the beginning of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, spectators are being drawn to media devices with the hope of watching glory and history being made.
Along with the celebratory news of Gold medals and broken records comes the controversy of steroids and masking steroid use. The biggest controversy in this summer’s Olympic games are the allowance over 100 Russian athletes who tested positive last month for steroid use and drugs masking steroid use.
There have been investigations of a state run program in Russia that was giving steroids to its athletes and then giving oral drugs mixed with alcohol to avoid detection of steroids. The effect on the Olympic games is already being seen with athletes from Russia being booed whenever they walk into a stadium or arena.
The largest scandal so far in the games was Russian swimmer, Yulia Efimova. She was a competitor for the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke. She was mainly competing against American Lilly King. King who believed Efimova should not have been able to compete has said that “You’re shaking your finger ‘No. 1’ and you’ve been caught for drug cheating,” after Efimova won her semifinal heat and threw up a celebratory no. 1 finger. King continued and said “I’m not a fan.”
The two athletes met during the finals, where King prevailed and won the gold medal. Efimova won silver but that still is taking a medal from Katie Meili of America who competed without any evidence that she was doping while Efimova had tested positive for doping twice in the last year. It is still early in the olympic games and there are many more events where olympians can be robbed of their dreams by those previously banned for doping but allowed to compete. But what makes steroids so bad?
In America, steroids are stigmatized so everyone knows if they get caught using it, they will lose their records and respect. Socialization of this value that steroids are bad is why Americans such as Lilly King see them as the worst kind of evil in sports. And the truth is that steroids are harmful. Steroids consists of the male hormone testosterone but is abused in large amounts by athletes to boost their performance. According to a research article by Ji- Guo Yu, steroids alter the morphology of skeletal muscle tissue in athletes allowing them to grow faster and gain more strength compared to other athletes not using steroids. The long term harmful effects of continued anabolic steroid use is damage to the liver, shrunken testicles, chemical addiction and alteration of normal brain pathways. For all of these reasons have steroids been banned. However socialization in another culture may have been why so many athletes knowingly or unknowingly took steroids, such as in this case with Russia. Values such as being the best at all costs, glory and winning are values that may have tempted so many athletes and their coaches to cheat. In the end, when Russian athletes medal they will claim glory but also shame. Shame from not winning their medals clean.