A Brief History
On January 17, 2013, renowned American cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted on Oprah’s Next Chapter, a prime time television show, that he was, as suspected and accused, a cheater that won 7 consecutive Tour de France bicycle races through the assistance of banned drugs.
Professional and amateur athletes have been using performance enhancing drugs for decades now, including stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines and a variety of hormones, usually characterized as “steroids.” Other banned substances include “blood doping” agents that increase the ability of blood to carry oxygen and even gene manipulation to enhance performance. Some types of pain killers are banned, and even sedatives used to steady nerves have been misused by athletes.
Almost all sports, from body building and weightlifting to track and field to gymnastics to swimming, baseball, football, and yes, even bicycle racing have had athletes test positive for the use of banned substances, often resulting in the medal or championship awarded to the cheater being rescinded. Some baseball players have been refused induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the entire Russian Olympic team was banned from international competition for 4 years starting in 2019.
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For more information, please see…
Petersen, Thomas. Doping in Sport. Routledge, 2022.
Walsh, David. Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong. Atria Books, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of Nancy Pelosi and Lance Armstrong, is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
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