“Winning is not everything it is the only thing”
That famous quote by American football coach Vincent Limbardi explains why athlete use performance enhancing drugs.
Athletes may have two reasons for using performance-enhancing drugs. An athlete may want to:
- Build mass and strength of muscles and/or bones
- Increase delivery of oxygen to exercising tissues
Build Mass and Strength of muscles and/or bones
The drug that is commonly used to build muscle mass and strength is Anabolic Steroid. This is the drug that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was caught using.
Athletes use anabolic steroids because they increase muscle strength by encouraging new muscle growth. They allow the athlete to train harder and longer at any given period.
Increase delivery of Oxygen to exercising tissue
EPO (Erythropoietin) is the drug choice here. Erythropoietin is a naturally occurring protein hormone that is secreted by the kidneys during low-oxygen conditions. When EPO is injected in the body it stimulates the bone marrow stem cells to make red blood cells, which increase the delivery of oxygen around the body. It is the drug of choice in endurace athletes in Marathons and cycling.