The Pursuit of Excellence: Drug Use in Olympic Weightlifting

The Pursuit of Excellence: Drug Use in Olympic Weightlifting

Olympic weightlifters use drugs, but they don’t do it all the time. Some of them use them occasionally, but most of them only take them under special circumstances.

That’s why there are different types of drugs used by athletes in the sport. These include those which enhance performance, and others which improve recovery from training or competition.

Performance Enhancers

These are substances that improve athletic ability, such as growth hormone (HGH), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and testosterone. They’re not illegal because they increase performance, but rather because their effects are seen as unfair by some sports officials.

The problem with these drugs is that they may cause side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of bone density and other health problems.

Recovery Drugs

These are substances that aid in recovery after training sessions or competitions. These can include amino acids, creatine, glucosamine sulfate and taurine.

There have been cases where athletes have taken these substances without any ill effect. However, there have also been cases where they’ve caused adverse reactions such as liver damage and kidney failure. Athletes using these drugs must follow strict guidelines when taking them so as to avoid negative consequences.

Drugs in Weightlifting

The use of drugs in weightlifting is not an uncommon thing. The problem is, not many people talk about it because it’s against the rules.

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However, it does happen, even at the highest levels of competition. For example, some of the Eastern Bloc countries were using stimulants and other banned substances during major competitions like the Olympics as far back as the 1960s.

Olympic Weightlifting and Doping

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pressure on weightlifters to perform at their best. Many of them suffer from depression because they don’t make the grade for major competitions, while others have financial limitations that make it hard for them to train optimally.

These pressures can sometimes lead those with less moral fiber to consider using performance enhancing drugs. This is especially true for younger athletes who are more susceptible to making bad choices.

While most athletes in the sport resist the temptation to dabble with drugs, many do succumb in one way or another.

There are some who believe that weightlifting should be cleansed of all doping because it’s cheating. Others believe that as long as the practice is kept reasonably secret, and participants aren’t getting killed by taking dangerous concoctions, then it should be allowed.

In the meantime, weightlifters must follow the rules to the letter to ensure fair play.

Why Would Athletes Use Drugs?

It’s a multi-million dollar industry with lots of money available to invest in new drugs and treatments, with weightlifting being a major focus.

The world of weightlifting is competitive, so most athletes take any advantage they can get.

Some people think it’s OK if the drugs are natural.

Some people think that drugs should be allowed if they don’t give you an unfair advantage over other competitors.

Some people think that anything goes if it means getting a gold medal.

How Do Athletes Get Around the Rules?

Most athletes follow the rules. Those that don’t get caught. The problem is, it’s very difficult to catch everyone who’s breaking the rules. There are too many ways to take drugs, and some drugs won’t show up on standard tests. There are even websites out there that provide tips on how to cheat without getting caught.

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Some Weightlifters and Doping

Zydrunas Savickas is a professional strongman from Lithuania who is famous for his strength. During the 2009 World’s Strongest Man competition, he tested positive for the steroid nandrolone and was suspended from the competition.

He protested the results and was re-tested again, but the second test also came back positive. As a result, he lost his title and his reputation.

Valery Federenko is a former world-class weightlifter who competed in three Olympic games. After he retired from weightlifting, he became the head coach of the Belarus national team.

In 2013, six of his athletes tested positive for anabolic steroids, and he received a lifetime ban from the sport.

Karyn Marshall was a Canadian Olympian in weightlifting. During the 2000 Sydney games, she won a silver medal.

After retiring from weightlifting she became a sports teacher at an elementary school. In 2013, her husband and coach Don Brooks was arrested after he tried to mail a package containing nearly 50 vials of growth hormone to Australia. He was charged with smuggling and drug possession. Karyn claims to have no knowledge of his actions and claims she would never be involved in drug use or distribution.

Sources & references used in this article:

Olympic weightlifting and the introduction of steroids: a statistical analysis of world championship results, 1948–72 by JD Fair – The International Journal of the History of Sport, 1988 – Taylor & Francis

In pursuit of excellence: A student guide to elite sports development by M Hill – 2007 –

The coercive power of drugs in sports by TH Murray – Hastings Center Report, 1983 – JSTOR

Chapter 2 – SPORTING EXCELLENCE: An historical overview: Chapter taken from In Pursuit of Excellence ISBN: 978-0-203-69540-1 by M Hill – … Online Studies on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2012 – Taylor & Francis

Discourses on drug use: The social construction of a steroid scandal by J Blackwell – Journal of drug issues, 1991 –

A history of drug use in sport: 1876-1976: Beyond good and evil by P Dimeo – 2008 –

Temptation by J Firstle – Index on Censorship, 2000 –