Let Gold Be Golden

By Youjin Ok

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Standards, regulations, laws. These promises suggest a sturdy frame but actually, nothing substantial is inside: like a shell without pearls. Conscience, morality, discretion. In the end, these essences will remain to the last. No matter how many tests, ongoing controls and rules are put into place, unless Olympic athletes and we all follow our own conscience, the gold medal is not really gold.

Drugs are still one of the constant misapplications of our society that have been going on in the Olympics since the 1900s. The International Olympic Committee(IOC) has been conducting doping tests since 1969 and maintaining them until the present time. So why is the athletes’ use of drugs still going on?

Can they represent our countries as athletes?

At the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Ross Rebagliati won the gold medal in snowboarding. After that, he tested positive for marijuana. But thanks to Olympics’ lax system, marijuana was not on the list of banned drugs. Besides, it was not considered a performance-enhancing drug (but added to the list of banned drugs two months later). Eventually, he was able to defend the gold medal which is very unjust.

So, judging from such poor, crazy and low-grade case, repeated use of banned substances and biased judging degrade the Olympics’ reputation as well as the athletes’ just like Rebagliati’s case. The gold medal will be meaningless and no longer worth the gold medal and it will inevitably lead to the need for worldly things. The rules and penalties should be more strengthened, more strict, more scrupulous to correct the wrong manners since our world seems more likely to be worldly than conscientious.

On the other hand, according to Dr. Robert Goldman, the survey shows the worldly things also become meaningless. He asked 198 U.S. Olympic-level athletes, “if they would take banned substances that guarantee victory but would  kill them within five years. More than half of the players said yes”. Also, according to a study published in the journal Sports Medicine, a survey conducted in international amateur players, “up to 57% of them admitted to using drugs in the past year”. What in the world has made them choose a pitiable one?

Moreover, the World Anti-Doping Agency(WDAD) tests blood and urine samples from hundred thousands of Olympic athletes annually which is very expensive. Among them, “only 1~2 percentage of them are positive for banned substances but, actual doping cases are estimated to be much wider”. Then why the test perceives only about 1~2 percentage of athletes? According to this article, it says “It’s because of timing, in order to detect the banned substances correctly, exact timing is needed for testing”. The problem here is some athletes apply banned drugs for a long time and then stop applying them before the WDAD test in order to pass the test. It’s a problem because they already took the drug for a long time, the virtue of the drug still remaining although they stopped applying. All the athletes and coaches already know how to avoid detection.

As long as they know how to avoid doping tests,  using drugs in sports won’t stop and things like worldly rules and laws become obsolete. If this happens, the value of the Olympics will be lost in all sports, and even the competition system will be gone like a flower that blooms and then fades away. Rules. Regulations. Regimentations. All useless. So, the last thing that remains is their mindset and it is up to the athletes in order to change the environment in sports.

Sports are a big leisure time in our daily lives. Sports are one of the significant factors that everyone bond together with the word “sports” away from the fighting, division and etc. between countries. Sports are one of the great lives that must not be lost. Consider all of these, of course, I don’t think all athletes are drugged, but there’s still more of them doing illegal things than we expected. For them, and for those who pretend to live in the world in disguise and pretend to be fake, the present world adheres by rules and laws and of course these are important as well. Nevertheless, because everything starts to change within our hearts, the athletes and we all have to put our hands on our conscience and our minds and make changes.


Work Cited

  1. Admin, UFC. “Should doping be legalised? The Olympic drug debate.” Ultimate Forces Challenge. 20 Sept. 2018. 11 Apr. 2019 <https://ultimateforceschallenge.com/should-doping-be-legalised-the-olympic-drug-debate/>.
  2. “BAD SPORTS.” Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication, 27 Oct. 2000, p. 1. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A66677898/OVIC?u=60iskl&sid=OVIC&xid=7aa7b08b. Accessed 20 Mar. 2019.
  3. Specktor, Brandon. “Why Is It So Easy to Cheat at the Olympics?” LiveScience. 13 Feb. 2018. Purch. 11 Apr. 2019 <https://www.livescience.com/61747-how-widespread-olympic-doping.html>.