Steroid Use and Control at the International Level
The use of anabolic steroids was banned by the International Olympic Committee in 1975. By this time the drug had been in use for almost a decade especially by the East Germans. Just recently in 1996 Atlanta Olympics five participants tested positive for psycho-stimulant. Some steroids which constraints human growth hormone have been used by athletes for almost two decades until recently when the drug testing community discovered how to detect its presence in the body system. Even erythropoietin which boosts the blood oxygenation naturally was not able to be tested until recently. Athletes have been using testosterone to boost performance since back in the early 1960s. It was only in 1980s that the international Olympic committee finally caught up with the athletes using the steroids.
Even then they could not test for testosterone directly and be able to give a positive or negative answer. This is because the supplement testosterone was very identical to the naturally produced testosterone. So it was impossible to tell which is which. What saved the troubled committee was the idea of comparing the presences of epitestosterone in the urine with that of testosterone. Normally the ratio is supposed to be 1:1. So if the ratio of testosterone exceeded that of epitestosterone it was assumed that the athlete is using enhancement drugs which contain testosterone. The ratio that was set to disqualify an athlete was 6:1 to avoid cases where levels of testosterone could be higher naturally.
Athletes had different ways of to avoid testing positive for testosterone like reducing their dosage as they approach a major event like the Olympics which they were sure they will be tested. Others went as far as taking a dosage of epitestosterone with their testosterone to keep the ratio down. To counter this IOC started testing the athletes randomly in their training camps and their homes. Now athletes have come up with a new way of cheating without being detected. They no longer use injections to administer their dosage, they use transdermal patches. These patches maintain a low level of testosterone ensuring that the ratio to epitestosterone is at par with the required ratio.
Some athletes with the help of their physicians have known how to keep the ratio just below 6:1. This has gone far in improving their performance without being at longer heads with the Committee. It is said that with the increased technology it is almost impossible for the professional sportsmen and women to test positive for steroid use. They collaborate with their doctors to conceal any trace of the drug. Only the amateur and up coming athletes who are yet to know the tricks end up in the wrong.
It is clear that for any athlete to perform well, he should have a high level of testosterone in his body to increase strength, speed, coordination and memory.Â These can only be achieved by intensive training which is done by every serious athlete. So the only competitive edge one might have over the rest is talent which is inborn or the use of steroids to improve on performance of the body.