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Sport and Human Rights (and Wrongs)

Drug-testing A violation of human rights or a required step in the fair direction?


Drug-testing is one of the main ways that UK Anti-Doping underpins an athlete's achievements as clean. Drug-testing first came into play at the 1968 Winter Olympics held in Grenoble, France. Before this, drug use by athletes from many countries was rampant. Drug use has also been responsible for one death during the Olympics. By being tested there can be no questions. It proves that an athlete has the right to be proud that all their hard work, dedication and determination, has made them the athlete they are. These controls eventually evolved into a systematic testing regimen that all Olympic athletes must adhere to. Testing of athletes for performance enhancing drugs includes both urine and blood tests. As of 1999 the authoritative body on the use of performance enhancing drugs is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This organization oversees the testing of athletes for several sports federations and the Olympic Games. As the creators of these drugs continue to improve their sophistication, potency and transparency, WADA and its constituency also innovate new ways to detect these drugs. Athletes continue to use various medical modifications to their body as a means of improving their athletic performance. As these methods became more extreme, it became increasingly evident that the use of performance enhancing drugs was not only a threat to the integrity of sport but could also have potentially fatal side effects on the athlete. The only Olympic death linked to athletic drug use occurred at the Rome Games of 1960. During the cycling road race, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen fell from his bicycle and later died. A coroner's inquiry found that he was under the influence of amphetamine, which had caused him to lose consciousness during the race. Jensen's death exposed to the world how endemic drug use was among elite athletes. By the mid1960s, sports federations were starting to ban the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the IOC followed suit in 1967. The first Olympic athlete to test positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, a Swedish pentathlete at the 1968 Summer Olympics, who lost his bronze medal for alcohol use. Liljenwall was the only athlete to test positive for a banned substance at the 1968 Olympics, as the technology and testing techniques improved, the number of athletes discovered to be chemically enhancing their performance increased as well.

Visit http://www.cbc.ca/sports/indepth/drugs/stories/top10.html to view a compiled list of 10 of the most influential and bizarre drug cases in the past few decades. It's a long, strange trip indeed
From a Christian perspective, is it ever right for a sportsperson or organisation to risk the health of athletes simply to win a game or a competition? What does the Catholic Church say about drug use?

No it is never right to risk the health of the athletes simply to win a game or competition because Christians put moral values , the health and safety of players above a 'game' or physical reward. Catholics view any substance that causes someone to lose control of themselves (alcohol, drugs, etc.) in a poor light. That doesn't mean that Catholics object to someone having a beer or two, but they do object to someone getting high or drunk, because that person is making themselves a risk to others as well as their own self.
Read the opinion piece by Craig Fry from The Age, 29/06/2012 at: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/bring-truth-intoplay-by-saying-yes-to-drugs-in-sport-20120628-215cn.html o What are the three main points Craig Fry makes in relation to the use of drugs in sport.

Bans on performance enhancing drugs don't make elite competitions fairer People are willing to use banned substances to gain power and fame. Current drugs and substances prohibited from elite sporting competition are not uniquely dangerous or risky, or inherently harmful. Nor are they the only or biggest sources of risk. Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/society-andculture/bring-truth-into-play-by-saying-yes-to-drugs-in-sport-20120628215cn.html#ixzz2cy0CTV4L
o How might Pope Benedict respond to the points Craig Fry makes?

He would respond by saying that although it is true that an inequality does exist in sporting competitions with the whole concept of money being used for technological advancements and legal medicines or techniques, the use of banned substances or prohibited substances, especially if it causes risk to the person's health or is ethically immoral should not be tolerated as it goes against everything the church believes in. A person's strength and determination will see them win, not money or power.
o How do you?

I'm a person who usually likes to believe in the underdog. Now the whole concept of an underdog is one who is expected to lose the the superior or better team from a general population point of view. An underdog winning shows not only determination and strength but that anyone can beat anyone if they set their mind to it and that's the thing, although money can improve people's performance, at the end of the day its all about the mind and if your mind isn't in it to win it, then expect to lose no matter how many resources you had at your disposal. I'm also a firm believer in that drugs that are banned should never be used as they are ethically immoral and go against everything that stands for hard-work and dedication as it's a shortcut and a cheap way out. More information can be found at: http://resource.fraynework.com.au/object.cfm? o=221&pid=1633&showrm=true&uptam=false