A sport is ideally a great activity for everyone to engage in, and children are especially encouraged to get into sports to learn teamwork and discipline. Nowadays, though, the ideal world of sports has been tainted by the proliferation of substance abuse.
As the year 2008 ended, Bulgarian sprinter Tezdjan Naimova was suspended for two years for using performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension was imposed by the Bulgarian Athletics federation after Naimova admitted to manipulating a doping test.
Over the past couple of years, Bulgaria has seen an increase in the number of athletes who were caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
Most of the athletes come from the field of athletics, including runners Vanya Stamblova, Teodora Kolarova and Daniella Yordanova, high jumper Venelina Veneva and hammer thrower Andrian Andreev.
What should have been healthy competitions are now being turned into reasons to turn to performance enhancement. Doping may be on the rise now, but as early as 1904, artificial performance enhancement through the help of medicine, has been used in sports. Marathon runner Thomas Hicks used strychnine injections to boost his performance and help him get to the finish line.
In 1924, drugs were being used in the Tour de France. During the Berlin Olympics in 1936, it is said that the German team used Benzedrine or amphetamines to enhance the performance of their athletes in the games. In 1954, the US weightlifting team started using Anabolic Steroids – known as the miracle muscle pill – to increase their body and muscle mass and perform better.
In recent years, the Tour de France is still being plagued by the use of hormones by cyclists from all over the world. Hormones and anabolic steroids are the more common substances that are used.
It now seems that the spirit of teamwork and discipline that the world of sports is supposed to develop has turned into an unusual competitive drive to be the best, regardless of what it takes. This is why sports events now extensively test for the use of performance-enhancing substances, all in the spirit of fair play.