Doping and sports go hand in hand. From ancient Greek athletes who ate sheep testicles and drank opiate-laced “energy drinks” to state-sponsored doping programs in Germany, Russia, and the United States, professional athletes have always looked for ways to squeeze the last ounce of performance from their bodies. Despite the efforts of organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency to curtail doping in sports, statistics show that using illegal substances is still a common practice among professional athletes worldwide.
Doping in Sports: Statistics You Should Know in 2021
What percentage of athletes use doping?
Determining what percentage of athletes use performance-enhancing drugs is not easy. Over 30% of those participating in the 2011 Olympics admitted utilizing some sort of illegal performance boosters at some point in their careers. A Wada report from the same year found even greater numbers at the World Championships in Athletics in South Korea (43.6%) and Pan-Arab Games in Qatar (57.1%). Official numbers are much lower, with Wada routinely reporting adverse analytical findings of only about 1% each year.
Do Olympic athletes get tested for drugs?
Absolutely. Drug testing at the Olympics dates way back to the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. In discussions about performance-enhancing drugs in sports, statistics still don’t show the complete picture, as many crafty athletes have avoided bans in the past. Countries like Russia even had state-sponsored doping programs, which were difficult to discover.
What are the benefits of doping in sports?
There are numerous benefits, depending on the drugs used. The most common type is anabolic steroids, which allow for faster muscle definition gains. Other stimulants enable athletes to train harder and feel less fatigued, while masking agents and diuretics can hide other drugs in the system or rapidly drain fluids from the body, to make a weight test in boxing, for example. While stats about steroids show a general decrease in use over the years, advanced doping agents such as erythropoietin are still used by many athletes to boost strength and red blood cell growth.
How does doping affect athletes?
There are plenty of adverse effects of performance-enhancing drugs. These include risks of infertility, hypertension, liver and kidney dysfunction when using anabolic steroids, myocardial and cerebral infarction when using hormones, insomnia, and hallucinations when using stimulants.
What are the types of doping in sports?
When it comes to doping in sports, statistics most commonly focus on steroids and hormones, but many more drugs and supplements can be classified as doping. We’ve already mentioned erythropoietin and anabolic steroids. Some athletes take somatotrophin – human growth hormone – and purified proteins or hemoglobin-based chemicals that can carry oxygen. Blood and gene doping and insulin are commonly used as well.