Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt

Steroid Issue Looms Over Sports

June 03, 2008 09:56 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
Speculation of drug use by the new 100-meter dash world record holder, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, highlights a common issue in sports today.

30-Second Summary

On May 31, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York, 21-year-old Usain Bolt of Jamaica set a new world record of 9.72 seconds in the 100-meter dash, breaking compatriot Asafa Powell’s previous record of 9.74 seconds.

A New York Times article noted that, although Bolt has never tested positive for drugs, he “faced inevitable questions from reporters” about performance-enhancing substances before the race even began.

Track and field has faced intense scrutiny in the wake of multiple cases of drug use by athletes, including former world record holders Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, as well as their coach Trevor Graham.

The sport “has become so compromised by doping that any startling performance brings immediate suspicion,” said The New York Times.

In an effort to establish a clean slate, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced a pilot program of enhanced drug testing of track and field athletes leading up to the summer Olympics in Beijing. The plan is “voluntary and is limited to 12 athletes,” who will be subjected to ongoing, frequent blood and urine tests.

Other sports are not immune to doping scandals or suspicion of performance enhancement, particularly when records are broken. In April 2008, swimming merchandiser Speedo was sued by its rival TYR over a record-breaking swimsuit thought to give its wearers an unfair competitive advantage.

Steroids are also at issue in this Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, during which Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown will compete legally on anabolic steroids, as will at least one of his competitors.

Headline Links: Whispers of performance enhancement mar sports

Background: Doping in U.S. track and field

Opinion & Analysis: Shadow over track and field

Related Topic: How did Bolt run so fast?


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