In doing some preliminary research for my essay, I came across some potentially interesting discussions to be had with regards to competition in sports. This article from Fox Sports contains interesting insights defending the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports: https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/should-pro-sports-leagues-end-testing-for-performance-enhancing-drugs-ped-steroids-082912
Surprisingly, there is actually a vocal group that support the legalization of PEDs in sports. Former Penn State Professor Charles Yesalis is in that camp, argues that Lance Armstrong, the famed cyclist that had all of his Tour de France titles stripped after admitting to using PEDs, was “as clean as any other rider”. This implies that these drugs were pervasive in the cycling world. I believe that a substantial amount of athletes participating in PED usage fundamentally changes the nature of sporting competition, as it is not simply one athlete with an edge of the others.
In terms of competition, there are many questions that can be brought up: suppose, as Yesalis suggests, that a good number of high level cyclists riding alongside Armstrong were using the same drugs, would this be qualified as cheating in the common usage of the word? Who would be the winner of the race, would it be the first runner up that wasn’t on drugs even if they were low in the leaderboard?
I am not quite sure what to make of this debate. These drugs can give an athlete a substantial edge over their competition, but to level the field, everyone must be doing them, which can open up sports to a new amount of logistical problems. However, on the other side, a problem now is that it seems to me that passing a drug test is feasible. Lance Armstrong never tested positive once in his entire career despite admitting to using PEDs. In this way, I can see there argument of bypassing testing all together.
I am interested in hearing your opinions on this issue. Should athletes be allowed to use PEDs in sporting competitions? Is using drugs simply a method of getting an edge over opponents, similar to a good training program, or is there no place for them in these competitions?