Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) have been on the forefront of professional sports for decades. Many of the best athletes use them and use them well. The list of PED users includes some of the most elite athletes on Earth (see list at bottom) from Lance Armstrong to Barry Bonds. Some of the athletes who’ve been caught using PEDs have taken vicious falls from grace (ie Lance Armstrong). Some haven’t felt any real public repercussions (Alex Rodriguez, one of Earth’s highest paid at $33 million/year). It seems that PEDs have their place in some sports and not in others. It’s also clear that ski & snowboard athletes (both freeriders & racers) are perfect candidates for benefiting from PEDs.
Considering how high the risks are to their health, their career, and their reputation, why do pro athletes use PEDs? The answer is simple: to significantly enhance their performance in their respective sport. But that isn’t all. Good performance leads to better contracts, new sponsors, bigger money, more fame, financial security for your family’s future generations, and a place in the history books. Look at baseball’s steroid era. We aren’t soon to forget the exciting home runs of Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, & Sammy Sosa despite the fact that they were all using steroids. Elite athletes clearly have feelings of invincibility that most of us haven’t had since we were 13.
THE GOOD of PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS:
– Increased endurance, quick muscle building, faster recovery from work outs, increased strength, more energy
– Overall, PEDs will give athletes an advantage over competitors and allow them to perform beyond their normal potential
THE BAD of PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS:
– Prominent breasts and impotence in men, deep voice and baldness in women, increased risk of tendon rupture, heart problems, liver tumors, shrunken testicles, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, blood clots, pulmonary edema
– (We’ve lumped together all the PEDs’ effects to see specifics to each drug click here: PED Effects)
Why wouldn’t you take PEDs for your skiing and riding? Imagine how strong a skier/rider you’d be. You’d never get tired, you’d recover lightning fast, you’d be able to ski bell to bell, you’d be able to ski more challenging terrain, you’d be able to land bigger airs… Sound great, right?
Just take a look at the bad effects of the PEDs listed above and come back to reality.
Yet, there exists a scary grey area between the good and bad effects of PEDs when you take the “exact right amount“. If you have a doctor and intense monitoring of your blood levels, you could theoretically take just the right amount of PEDs to enhance your performance, but not hurt your body. This blood/drug equilibrium is difficult to acquire, but certainly can be done.
“Scientific studies show that athletes can use these drugs without suffering adverse side effects when taken in the correct amount and under medical supervision.” – Robert Bello, Thomas Jefferson Law School (his paper: Why Athletes Should Use PEDs)
Professional ski/snowboard athletes are also fiercely eyeing the benefits of PEDs.
“I’m surprised it’s illegal because in our sport, it would be pretty minimal health risks, and it would actually make it safer for the athletes, because you’d have less chance of making a mistake at the bottom and killing yourself.” – Bode Miller
Bode is referring to how PEDs would give you more energy at the end of your race and how certain PEDs would actually increase brain blood flow and allow racers to make better decisions. This could potentially lead to safer races… but they’d just end up push it even further and make the longer, more challenging courses.
There are definitely more than 2 sides to this argument. With a skilled, “illegal” doctor, you could potentially use PEDs safely and became a super-star or just impress the heck out of your friends. If you take them on your own, you’re going to get end up with some of the nasty side effects mentioned above, which are pretty heinous.
Now, I want to push this question over to you. After reading this article and quickly weighing the good vs the bad, would you use Performance Enhancing Drugs to benefit your skiing and riding? Have you ever pondered this question before? I certainly have. If I ask myself this honestly, it’s clearly a heavy question, but if I had a great doctor, who knew exactly how to administer these drugs, I think I’d…
ELITE ATHLETES WHO HAVE USED PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS:
– Lance Armstrong – cycling
– Arnold Schwartznegger – body builder
– Alex Rodriguez – baseball
– Mark McGuire – baseball
– Barry Bonds – baseball
– Marion Jones – USA track olympian
– Roger Clemens – baseball
– Mike Tyson – boxing
– Carl Lewis – USA track olympian
– the list goes on…