The use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) has had a long history at the Olympic Games. Its origins can be traced even back to the Ancient Olympics where Olympians would eat lizard meat prepared a special way, in the hopes that it would give them an athletic edge. The first documented use of drugs to improve an athlete's performance was the winner of the 1904 marathon, Thomas Hicks who was injected with strychnine. The use of performance-enhancing medication has also been attributed to one death during Olympic competition. As rumors of rampant drug use by athletes began to spread, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to act. By 1967, the IOC had banned the use of performance enhancing drugs in Olympic competition. The IOC introduced the first drug use controls at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
These controls eventually evolved into a systematic-testing regimen that all Olympic athletes must adhere to. Testing of athletes for performance-enhancing drugs includes both urine and blood tests. As of 1999, the authoritative body on the use of performance-enhancing drugs is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This organization oversees the testing of athletes for several sports federations and the Olympic Games. As the creators of these drugs continue to improve their sophistication, potency and transparency, WADA and its constituency also innovate new ways to detect these drugs. Athletes continue to use various medical modifications to their body as a means of improving their athletic performances.
The use of performance enhancing tactics or more formally known as PEDs, and more broadly, the use of any external device to nefariously influence the outcome of a sporting event has been a part of the Olympics since its inception in Ancient Greece. One speculation as to why men were required to compete naked was to prevent the use of extra accoutrements and to keep women from competing in events specifically designed for men. Athletes were also known to drink "magic" potions and eat exotic meats in the hopes of given them an athletic edge on their competition. If they were caught cheating, their likenesses were often engraved into stone and placed in a pathway that led to the Olympic stadium. In the modern Olympic era, chemically enhancing one's performance has evolved into a sophisticated science, but in the early years of the Modern Olympic movement the use of performance enhancing drugs was almost as crude as its ancient predecessors.
Drugs in Sport: New voices break their silence SBS Earlier this year, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) released its findings on the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited drugs and organised crime.
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