Stripped of his seven Tour de France cycling titles by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for using steroids and blood doping, Lance Armstrong is the latest athlete to be tainted by charges of using banned substances. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and others preceded him. As their example demonstrates, the use of performance-enhancing drugs is not limited to cycling but has been evident in baseball (and football and other sports) as well.
Nor are sports the only aspect of our culture in which drugs are taken to boost performance. Some high school and college students, for example, take Adderall, a drug designed for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to boost their ability to do well on standardized and other tests. The drugs helps them focus and concentrate, an aid to high performance on these tests that can help secure admission to a prestigious college or entry into a lucrative career.
As the USADA puts it in its mission statement, it is promoting: “fair play, respect for one’s competitor and respect for the fundamental fairness of competition.” In short, when athletes take performance enhancing drugs, they cheat. This violates a core value, the critical importance of fair competition in the race for success. Performance enhancing drugs put those who play by the rules at an unfair disadvantage.
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