MVHS students reflect on Russian Paralympics Doping Scandal
Analyzing doping in athletics
They were hiding it for many years and pretending like everything was normal. It was only a matter of time before they would get caught. Last month, numerous doping scandals involving the Russian Olympic team were unveiled, but the International Committee still allowed them to compete. But the scandals did t end there. When the Russian Paralympic team was also caught doping, their entire team was banned from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“Using performance-enhancing drugs is unnatural, and it puts the people who compete fairly at a disadvantage,” junior Owen Malone said. “It’s basically like cheating in a board game, but on a much larger scale.”
According to performance-enhancing drugs expert Stephen J. Dubner, doping has a sort of domino effect. When one athlete starts doping, others try to catch up with the leader and before anyone even realizes, it’s impossible to find someone who is actually competing fairly.
In the case of the Russian team, more than 35 new cases of doping were discovered, which was enough to get their entire team banned. According to Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, no one bothered to step up or ask questions as to why this was happening. And on top of that, the government knew about all of it, but chose to ignore it.
Craven said he disagrees with the way their government was handling the matter, explaining that “their medals over morals mentality disgusts [him].”
Here at MVHS, it’s unlikely that people are using steroids and doping, but there are still some similarities. For example, athletes have used caffeine pills and energizers such as Five Hour Energy. These still help enhance performance, but they aren’t banned substances.
“Our school is extremely competitive in sports and academics, so naturally there is a lot of pressure,” says junior Kendall Yu. “So yeah, I’ve seen people using things to boost their energy and help them perform.”
This scenario was not the first major Olympic doping scandal, and it’s certainly not the last. Doping will always be an option in sports, but the questions still remain about the athletes using banned substances and the people in charge of regulating those substances. This instance shows that the Olympic Committee isn’t afraid to ban an entire country, regardless of the fact that they’re top medal contenders. It serves as a warning to other countries, and hopefully is a step towards clean and fair sports all the way down to the high school level at MVHS.
Additional reporting by Aditya Krishnan