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Drugs in competitive athletes Questionnaire

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Should performance enhancing substances be banned?

  • Yes

    Votes: 22 73.3%
  • No

    Votes: 8 26.7%

  • Total voters

The Fury

Sultan of swim
Feb 1, 2002
I have been having a discussion with Eric Fattah about substance abuse in Freediving.

I would like to get the opinion of other Freedivers on this matter.

Do you think that performance improving substances should be banned on the grounds that they are unfair and unsafe?

Or do you think that people should be allowed to take them because there is a chance that they will get what is coming to them?

I look forward to reading your responses.

Please start your message with either "Ban them" or "Allow them" and then any other comments below.

I have a degree in Sport Science and have worked with athletes who consume vast quantities of banned substances. My view, as with all things, is that everyones entitld to do what they please. I suggest that the sporting commitees set up competitions which are drug free and also set up competitions for the chemically enhanced athlete. If some athletes are willing to put themselves at risk why not see what the human body is capable of (with a bit of help). Might see the 100 metre's below the 9 second mark.

A drug enhanced athlete still needs to train just as hard to succeed as a drug free one. If I pumped myself full of steroids I still doubt that I would be an world class athlete.

The problem with drugs is the same as with Formula One racing. The team that has the most money for research will win. They are always one step ahead of the tester which is why they put a clause in at the bottom of the IOC banned substance list. This clause says that all of the substances mentioned "or anything similar" will be banned. So they could ban an athlete if they found an unidentified substance which they thought could be performance enhancing.
define drug?

I am a former sub pro cyclist and the drug issues in Europe were always crazy. Who is using, what are they using, why, what benifit, etc. The controversy has almost ruined the image of the sport. This all comes at an all time low in drug use for cycling for the past thirty years. The regulations have cut the use greatly but there are still those ahead of the curve of just willing to take the risk.

Why do I not cycle profesionaly, because I had my right arm partialy dismembered at the elbow and reattached and because of the drug use. The pressure is always there to play the part of the race horse and you are often pushed to do possibly detrimental things to your body especially at the amature level. It is that edge that everyone is looking for to go pro.

I am against the use of perfomance enhancing drugs but find it very hard to define what a drug is(epo, caffine, etc.?). I am curious if anyone has heard of "epo" being used in freediving? It was the drug of choice in cycling for years.

P.S. Shane where are you from?
ban them , allow them

since i don't compete I really don't give a s***.
Gitano has a point define a drug (all drugs on IOC list?? - that is insane)

It would be perfect if every competitor on its own would choose not to use drugs.
Eneything else is just killing the sport. :(

This debate should encompass any such substance or technique that enhances performance giving an unfair advantage and places the athlete at unnessecary risk.

This includes EPO, autologous and homologous transfusion, NaHCO3, steroids, BCA's, HMB, Beta blockers, Androgenic anabolics, etc.........

It is difficult to draw the line defining whether a substance should be banned.

I don't know if Freedivers have been using EPO but if they have it is a probably a good idea if they stop.
nice thread, ugly topic

The risk involved in most sports pushed to the professional level is already elevated. The notion of willfully infusing more risk into the equation comes a the cost of long term loss for short term gains. The validity of every record comes under question. The variables are great enough between individuals in the sports without the drugs.
Any substance which alters the bodies chemistry is a drug. Whether it is performance enhancing or not depends on what the drug is and what sport you are participating in. The fact is that abuse of any substance has its consequences and if you look at it form that angle, the banned substance list is in fact protecting the health of the athletes.

The issue here is cheating. I read somewhere that Umberto Pelizarri breathed pure oxygen for a while and did a static of 12-13 minutes. Nothing wrong with that. But it would have been wrong had he been competing with freedivers with no oxygen.

(Oh yeah i forgot... Does that make oxygen a drug?????)

Whether people use drugs or not they should not cheat their fellow competitors. All should play by the same rules.

By the way I am from Gibraltar (Can't remember who asked)
Not sure if the title of your poll agrees with the question you're trying to ask... if two guys are dehydrated and one of them drinks water, would this enhance his performance?

As for drugs though, allow them, I'm going to back Eric all the way. Zero tolerance - if you want to screw yourself over, go for the gusto, you'll get what's coming to you
kofein and stuff...

the fury
you are talking about EPO stereoids... that are some really nasty stuff I agree this should be band for good.
But on IOC list you will find kofein, taurin... things that you can find in your daily meals. It comes so far that atlets have their own staff that cooks special food for them before the competition!! That ain't sport and defenetly not a way to live!!

We went from one extrem to another.
I would die if I didn't have a cup of coffe in the morning :p

Those who say preformance drugs should be legal think for a second. You are all old enough to know what is ok and what is not. If drugs become legal everybody that is 18 or more years old could buy it. Imagine that 18 year old KID ruins his life in a year or two useing steroids!! The poor bugger dosn't know what is he doing!! I can't say "that is non of my buissnes"!!
There are some examples in thread about drug abuse they scare me.

The more i think about this more i find that this problem is not so simple. It is very complex.

I said UNFAIR advantage. If an athlete is dehydrated it is his own fault for not replacing fluids and drinking some water would certainly not be detrimental to his health.

If an athlete dies from EPO use it could be partly his own fault IF he knew the risks, partly his coach's who should know better but NOT the sport's governing body's if they have explicitly banned use of the substance.

I asked the question in another thread: Why does the IOC have a banned substance list? Correct me if I'm wrong but is it not to discourage athletes from using substances which could give them an unfair advantage and be of risk to their health?

I also asked why other elite athletes should benefit from this protection whereas Freedivers do not.

It is still beyond my comprehension why anyone would say: don't ban any performance enhancing substances. In fact it seems perfectly insane. In my opinion.

Breath-holds with oxygen have been known to exceed 20 minutes so I'm quite convinced it is not legal in competition. So if sodium bicarbonate increases breath-hold time why should it be legal? In fact why should any other substance which can increase breath-hold time be legal? Especially the ones which can also kill the athlete?
The IOC does not ban performance enhancing substances. The IOC list of banned substances has nothing to do with whether or not the substance improves your performance, it only cares about whether or not the substance can be harmful. Are recreational drugs anabolic? Yet they are on the list of banned substances.

Likewise, small amounts of caffeine are not harmful, so small amounts of caffeine are allowed. Large amounts of caffeine can be harmful, so large amounts of caffeine are not allowed.

This is why it is called the 'list of banned substances' and not 'list of performance enhancing substances'.

Creatine enhances performance in some events, but it is not banned, because (so far) it has not been shown to be harmful.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I am with you on that

I have seen many a cyclist from the late '70s and early '80s with failing livers/kidneys from those years of reckless "performance enhancing substance" use.

I think that athletes in this modern world to have unquestionable performance records might have to succumb to uniform dietary suplimentation limits for the sake of governing and safety. The records might not be broken everyday but the competition would tighten like a one design race format. This might only be nessicary until the testing tech exceeds the pharmaceutical tech.
We seem to have started splitting hairs. Okay, maybe I should have started the discussion on dangerous substances.

However, the limit for cafeine in drug testing is way below a level which could be dangerous.

The ACSM position stand on blood doping techniques states that any such technique " is unethical, unfair, and expose the athlete to unwarranted and potentially serious health risks."

Notice how "unethical" and "unfair" are mentioned as well as health risks.

On the ethics of blood doping it is stated that the "safety, legality, and effectiveness of the procedure" must be taken into consideration.

I am struggling to find an ethical reasoning behind statements like "If a person tries to cheat, and dies, then he gets what he deserved. So let him cheat. Why should it be our job to 'save his life' when he is the one who was willing to risk his life to win?"

If AIDA uses IOC drug tests then.......well....Good! I'm going to go and check that out.
And as I said in another thread, NaHCO3 may not be on the banned substances list but an athlete with an unusually high urine pH will be prevented from participating until a normal sample is produced. Thus preventing that athlete from participating under the influence of sodium bicarbonate.
I didn't see anything in the IOC document about urine pH.

Could you direct me to which page that is on?

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
If there was a limit to the athlete's urine pH, then innocent athletes would be disqualified. Anyone who drank lots of citrus juice, or did lots of apnea training, would be disqualified. Are you willing to disqualify innocent athletes? Where's the ethics in that?

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I thought a citrus juice contained citric acid i.e. acidic with low pH.

Linderman & Gosselink (1994), The Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate Ingestion on Exercise Performance, Sports Medicine 18(2) 75-80:

"Currently the US Olympic Committee, for example, does not ban the use of bicarbonate loading. However, a highly alkaline urine sample can mask some banned substances. For this reason an athlete who passes an alkaline urine sample will be detained in drug testing until an acidic urine sample is passed"

And thus sodium bicarbonate cannot be used in competition.

True, this mentions the USOC and not the IOC but I didn't bring up the IOC, you did!

Maybe oneday I'll be able to quote: Haughey (2003) The Effects of Sodium Bicarbonate Ingestion on Breath-Hold Time. Or maybe not as finding subjects is proving to be a pain in the arse.

Well, it's passed my bedtime (00:10 in the UK) so I'll be back in the forums on the morrow.
I knew the IOC didn't control urine pH -- we're talking about freediving, which means IOC drug tests, on USOC.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Drinking citrus juice gives you citric acid, which when neutralized by your body becomes citrate. Some of this citrate will become entangled in the krebs cycles all over your body, the rest will be converted to bicarbonate. This is why taking sodium citrate, or even lemon juice, is a more common and safer way to increase your buffer levels than NaHCO3, because citrate is way easier on the stomach. However, personally I avoid citrus juice or citrate before diving because of the reduction of the bohr effect and the 'hyperventilation' like problems they cause.

Years ago I experimented with citrate & bicarbonate, before concluding that they impaired performance in expert divers.

However, I did discover that to minimize the electrolytic shock, use a 3:1 ratio of Na-citrate and K-citrate, or, in the case of bicarbonate, a 3:1 ratio of NaHCO3 and KHCO3. Even a 1:3 ratio would work, but be sure to include both sodium and potassium, otherwise you'll end up with either hypernatremic or hyperkalemic shock.

Of course, I still recommend against messing with your buffers or electrolytes at all. Just eat enough salty foods, eat enough fruits & veggies for your potassium, and maybe take a calcium/magnesium supplement, and your body will do the rest.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
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