The Olympics was a major sporting event held every four years to bring athletes from all over the world to compete in their own specific event and strive for any goal or achievement possible for their country, family or for themselves. The Olympics show the values of excellence, friendship and respect which brings together the movement of sport, culture and education to every human being. Excellence meaning the one who gives their best on and off the field and doesn’t always look at the winning side of things but striving to be the best they can be. Friendship being the way to build up a peaceful environment within the world due to sports. To be able to see mutual understandings despite the differences between everyone. Respect has been put in the values to be able to respect oneself, others as well as rules and regulations. Without these values the Olympics would be a shamable of athletes with no respect to the rules of doping or any unethical behaviour.
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Since the very first Olympics many enhancing performance drugs have been evolved and many athletes have gone against the rules and values of the Olympics by secretly taking them. The Seoul Olympics is a prime example of of this with Ben Johnson testing positive in a 100m final. 1988 Olympics in Seoul was one of the most memorable Olympics to this day because of one man, Ben Johnson.
On the 24th September Ben was racing for the 100m gold medal for the decider of who was the fastest man in the world. Ben was racing his arch rival, Carl Lewis, who he had beaten on many occasions leading up to the big games. Ben was one of the competitors that no one worried about and Carl Lewis felt that Ben didn’t have any chance beating him because “he didn’t he the speed endurance” to beat him. After years of training Ben started beating Carl after a very short period of time.
After Ben pulled his hamstring 4 months before the games, left his coach and went on vacation, nobody was worried about him for the games. But after an unusual speedy recovery Ben was back and running again ready for the big games. The race arrived and Ben won the gold medal and bet his own personal best at the Seoul Olympic Games. But within 48 hours his medal was striped from his possession due to testing positive to Anabolic Steroids. Ben originated from Jamaica and immigrated to Canada in 1976. He was then brought under the wing by an ex sprinter Charlie Francis who thought that black athletes had the “Greatest genetic potential to end Canada’s drought” (for track). Ben was Charlie’s youngest recruits and least promising.
Ben made many improvements and was speedy off the block but could never maintain the right speed to finish strongly. This was Ben’s biggest weaknesses and could never beat his arch rival, Carl Lewis, who accelerates throughout the entire race to end up finishing first. Ben described Carl as “Cocky” and “abit of a show off” while Carl always through of Ben as being “one of the guys you wouldn’t worry about, just because he didn’t have the core talent.” Both athletes had very strong opinions about each other but both athletes trained extremely hard for their passion but for Ben, he just couldn’t gain a placing in the top three like Carl. But wasn’t long before Ben worked his way up the leaderboard and then finally beating Carl in many races.
These drugs enabled Ben to pursue his racing career and get him to the top. Throughout the Olympic Games over the years there was a culture of drug use going on between the different athletes. Many athletes took the drugs because they felt as though it was unfair that others were able to do this, win a gold and beat their personal bests because they were on some sort of illegal enhancing performance drug. Over the years drug testing became huge and many athletes had to be extremely careful as well as many drug dealers. They had to go deep underground/undercover to supply these athletes without getting caught. There was so many athletes taking drugs that there was always the question going round of “Do you take the drugs and win? Or content yourself with losing forever by staying away from them.” At the time Ben was the only athlete testing positive in relation to drugs. But everyone else knew who and how many more were exactly like Ben, taking drugs to win because they knew they possibly couldn’t on their own. To get drugs, for most, it was just a trip to your team doctor and away you went.
Hundreds of athletes took drugs but were never caught so their achievement felt real to them and the rest of the world but the truth was always hidden behind many athletes receiving a medal. Drugs became a big part of athletes life that they didn’t think or know the consequences of it all until Ben was stripped off his medal and shamed in front of the world. He is now known as going from a “Hero to Zero” because of drugs. Ben was banned for two years and made a comeback in the 1991 games finishing second. However Ben was found guilty again of doping and banned for life.
The culture of drugs has slowly decreased over the years due to the increase in drug testing and improvement of equipment used. Now days there is near no one taking drugs because of the strict rules and toughness that has gone into drug testing. With the decrease in drug use people are now able to see the truly best athletes in the world. Many athletes were happy to compete cleaning but with so many of their competition not clean it was driving some of them to do the same. There was fierce rivalry between the two athletes Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis over many years of racing against each other. Carl had always been the defending champion of many events including the 100m and 200m races.
It wasn’t until the mid 80’s that people became aware of Ben, when he won a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in LA. This was the start of Ben’s big journey. In 1985 the Canadian, Ben Johnson, claimed his first win over Carl. After this Ben kept his winning streak of four wins in consecutive races over Lewis. The world was amazed by Ben’s achievements and were all waiting for the big games in Seoul 1988 to see who was really the fastest man on the planet. Every athlete strived to be the fame of it all, in this case, Carl Lewis was the fame. With his amazing success people began to become interested in the sport.
More and more people began to watch it on tv and many companies wanted to sponsor and make big deals with Carl. More money started rolling into the sport and especially to Lewis. But when Johnson began to bet Carl the media began to pay attention to it all. Johnson got offers of sponsorship deals and even got offered a 2.8 million contract. With this mad rivalry between the two athletes the sport became more enlarged with supporters and viewers. The sport began to grow and more money was getting poured into the sport and the cash prize was increasing to large amounts. The prize was massive and meant there was more reason to take drugs to perform extremely well. With Johnson testing positive to enhancing performance drugs, it had a massive impact on the other athletes.
Many of his competitors could of potentially been entitled to placings but had been taking away from them due to drug cheats within the race. Due to drugs within the sporting culture it lead many other competitors to do the same as Ben. After Johnson was caught in 1988 it lead to six out of the eight finalists testing positive to drugs in their system and are now known as drug cheats. What was once the “Greatest” races of history is now known as the “Dirtiest.” Drugs became apart of sporting and for some they felt it wasn’t a choice anymore. As the number of athletes that caught increased they drug testing became stronger which lead many athletes to either stop using drugs or to not start at all. Drug testing now has improved since the Seoul games and athletes are getting testing daily. As technology improves it is much harder for athletes to get away with drugs and more and more of them are getting caught. It was unfair for the athletes that don’t take drugs because they aren’t getting the true competition and they will never know if they are good or not because the fact that they are racing cheats.
Athletes in Ben Johnson’s race were never giving the full ceremony after Ben was stripped of his medal. Ben provoked some people of what may have been the highlight of their life or maybe even their only medal. If Johnson wasn’t caught with drugs in his system more and more athletes would still be getting away enhancing performance drugs. When the incident took place the media acted quickly making their own assumptions to let the world know what has taking a turn. The media was able to portray the story the way they wanted it to look. For Ben this was not in his favour. Reporters hassled Ben with questions seeking answers about the whole situation. The media made the story sound like a uproar. This lead to more people buying the papers and therefore the more income they would receive. No matter who, why or what they said everything was against the drug cheat, Ben Johnson. Ben went from “Hero to Zero” within seconds because of the media’s responses.
The media made Ben sound like a drug, cheating man, but we were unable to hear the truth behind why Johnson did what he did. We know that Johnson took more drays day before his big event in Seoul so he knew he would definitely beat Carl in the race with no doubt in his head. Ben had become a world wide champion especially in Canada as he had broken their track and field drought. He was a hero in Canada’s eyes and filled the country with pride. The country was filled with joy over Ben’s amazing achievement but came to a halt when news got out about Ben being a drug cheat. The country was humiliated by this and Ben was no longer looked up to by others but in fact he was looked down on because of his choices. Canada began to disown Ben as one of the Canadians said to the fellow Jamaican team that “ You can have Ben back. He’s not a Canadian now.” – Kevin Plummer. This just goes to show that Canada felt betrayed by Bens actions and no longer saw him as a truthful Canadian. The Canadian government looked into Bens incident and called it the “Dubin Inquiry”.
This case looked into the “use of drugs and banned practices intended to increase athletic performance.” After several months of an on going testimony they came to a result that Canada would be strengthening its drug testing program. They began the “Independent Nonprofit Canadian Anti-doping Organization”. This organization has made Canada one of the most recognized leaders in fight against the use of performance enhancing substances. After Canada disowned Ben they were able to protest and help stop the use of drugs in stop. Even though Ben didn’t make his country proud in the end and made Canada look dirty for letting this happen, he did help them stop the use of drugs after a bad choice was made by him. I understand why most athletes felt like they needed to take the drugs to perform their best but that doesn’t make it right. It wasn’t just the players that let their family, friends. Self or country down, it was also the sporting world that allowed drugs to be in the sporting culture for many many years.
Athletes were getting away with enhancing performance drugs and with no one stopping them they found that it was okay. It also lead other athletes in different countries to go against their morals and do the same. I believe that the athletes like Ben Johnson who took some type of substance was in the wrong because they all new the rules and morals that had been put in place years before they started racing, but they were the ones that chose to go against them. Drugs were making athletes cheat themselves to make them think they were the best in the world. It was the athletes own choice, they were never forced to do so, maybe influenced by other athletes doing them but never forced. I believe that it wasn’t just the athletes who were in the wrong, I believe the doctors and developers of these drugs were just as much to blame as the athletes were. Without these people drugs in the sporting culture wouldn’t be around and athletes wouldn’t be able to cheat like they do. I believe that the response was justified. Ben Johnson was definitely in the wrong but also made people see the real problem in the sporting world.
After Ben’s story the world became stricter around drug testing and the rules became harsher. Its harder to get away with enhancing performance drugs due to the increase of the drug testing technology that has improved over the years. I think that anyone caught taking any type of substance should be banned for life from sports because they are taking away the chances of non-cheat athletes own victory. Every Olympics that followed the Seoul Games had a major focus on catching drug cheats and improving the system to make sure there wasn’t a repeat of the Seoul Olympics. Drug testing technology may have improved over the years but their is always small holes that athletes are able to find. As the years have gone on there has been less and less drug cheats caught and the ones that don’t test positive are all non chetas as they know the consequences of doing it and are only cheating themselves. The Seoul games helped the world know about the drug culture in sports and the world has taking a stand to prevent this from happening again. By improving the technology and and making the rules stricker less athletes are likely to take drugs but there will always be those few who are willing to take the risk.
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