Modern anti-doping service progress trends: win or loss?

Dr.Hab., Professor  L.I. Lubysheva1
Dr.Hab., Professor L.D. Nazarenko2
1Russian State University of Physical Education, Sports, Youth and Tourism (SCOLIPE), Moscow
2Ulyanovsk State Pedagogical University named after I.N. Ulyanov, Ulyanovsk

Keywords: Olympic movement, doping control, resetting, modern Olympic values .

Background. Olympic sports may be defined as the specific activity of certain effects on the national policies and socio-economic situations. Competitive accomplishments in modern sports require high investments to develop the modern sport infrastructure, technologies and facilities; design new multifunctional training machines; train highly skilled coaches, physicians and other service personnel; design and procure high-precision test instruments and equipment for the athletic progress tests; and facilitate the competitive accomplishments to pave the way for further national qualifications for the Olympic Games. The modern Olympic movement, one of the most humanistic and consolidating cultural global movements, increasingly suffers from doping issues that erode its sporting spirit and fair play principles. With the growing use of doping agents, organizers of the international sports movement realize the powerful financial interests behind them fueled by the profits generated by doping.

Objective of the study was to explore the potential doping control solutions to protect genuine values of the Olympic Games as a top-ranking global sport event and a basis for the peacekeeping mission of the modern sports.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for a questionnaire survey was a focus group of 160 athletes from the Ulyanovsk and Samara Oblasts, Tatarstan and Cheboksary, with the survey form offering the following questions for discussion:

• Who benefits from the stimulants and drugs in sports?

• Why the IOC, WADA and other relevant organizations are still ineffective?

• Why the competitors in the ancient Olympic Games came naked to the stadium?

• What do you think is the mission of competitions?

• What competitive formats may secure a fair ranking of the competitors and their health protection and advance the Olympic movement and further friendly cooperation of the world nations?

• Why no competitive event can do without a fair play on an equal basis to be attractive, noble, entertaining and memorable?

The respondents were encouraged to give details, facts and arguments to substantiate their responses. The sample was split up into Group 1 of teenage (under 20 year olds) Class I-III athletes; and Group 2 composed of 21+ year old Masters of Sport.

Results and discussion. Since the first reinstated Olympics in 1896, a wide variety of pharmacological agents have been used by the competitors, including codeine and strychnine; although doping agents became widespread not sooner than since 1935 when testosterone injections helped the German athletes win almost every gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The USSR national team first qualified for the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki where the Soviet weightlifters won all the heavyweight medals. Since that time, an open struggle has begun between the athletes of the capitalist and socialist political systems. The United States has always strived to keep abreast with the Soviet Union in sports. American physiologist D. Ziegler found in 1955 a modified synthetic testosterone with special anabolic effects. Since 1958, the US pharmacists launched production of anabolic steroids that have been in the highest demand from athletes and generated huge profits for the manufacturers since then.

Anabolic steroids are highly harmful for a human body as they change location of the protein complex around certain DNA sections to significantly enhance their activity and trigger the relevant bodily responses – thus they give a boost to the RNA synthesis and functionality on the whole; they block the cortisol receptors located in the muscle cell membranes and, as a result, the powerful catabolic hormone hampers activity; and they spur up synthesis of creatine phosphate in cells of the working muscles to speed up reproduction of ATP critical for muscular activity [2, 3].

Furthermore, anabolic steroids are known to suppress insulin production; reduce pain in the joints; minimize blood cholesterol; improve tolerance of physiological systems to oxygen starvation; and increase the oxygen demand and, hence, hemoglobin content in the red blood cells. These agents reduce blood circulation in veins and enrich working muscles with blood. That is the reason why the body recovery periods after heavy training loads and injuries are reduced and the performance is boosted. Doping agents, therefore, make it possible to faster reach the individual best fitness at sacrifice of the natural physiological mechanisms that protect body from neuromuscular overstrain that may result in severe side effects for health. As a result, more than thirty doping-related deaths were reported for the period of 1960 to 1967. By this time no doping suspension actions could be effective since the agents had been widely disseminated all over the world.

Purposeful doping control projects were launched back in 1962 – and immediately proved ineffective. Global sports by that time had evolved into a specific political tools effectively used by the strong actors against the weaker ones – as manifested by the formal, lukewarm doping control practices whilst doping in fact is still used by vested interests for their political agendas [1].

The World Anti-Doping Agency declared itself a supreme authority in the pharmacological agents management domain and, having subjugated the IOC and the other relevant doping control organizations, monopolized this activity to fast lose the former impartiality and independence in the decision making on what teams to ban from the Olympics, how to punish individual athletes suspected in using narcotics or stimulants, how to sanction suspected nations etc. As a result, the global Olympic movement came to crisis that requires immediate serious actions of every party interested in protection of the genuine Olympic values and opposing the vested political interests in the IOC, WADA and some other international organizations that have lately been acting to undermine these values.

The survey data were found group specific, with the young and mature athletes giving notably different responses. The young group appeared to underestimate the importance of the doping issues for the Olympic movement, whilst the sport masters demonstrated better understanding of the need for the doping control system being reformed. The sample mentioned the following main reasons for the growing doping addictions: still ineffective doping control initiatives by the IOC and WADA; vested political interests in the Western nations that use doping for their political gains; wide and growing variety of the new non-listed and uncontrolled doping agents; the current doping detection methods are lagging far behind the drug production industry output; athletes are often unaware of the potential health and qualification hazards of the medicines they take, etc.

Based on the survey data and analyses, we have grounds to conclude that the United States and their Western allies resort to political pressure on the international Olympic movement to cement their political dominance; whilst the drug developers and manufacturers make big profits from their businesses, and all that mean that the doping issues in the global sports will only grow with time. New effective joint initiatives are needed to effectively protect the genuine values of the Olympic movement from the total destruction, with a growing priority given to the fair play principle governed by the  humanistic potential that the modern Olympic movement was based upon to make it so popular [4, 5].

Along with the adaptation of the Olympic idea to the modern reality, every athlete needs to take a firm position in the doping control issues, with the oath of Olympians expected to facilitate the efforts of the global sport communities to establish a zero tolerance level in the attitudes to prohibited pharmacological agents. Doping may be defeated with a determined contribution from the wide public advocacy for the genuine Olympic values perceived as the new life philosophy making a special emphasis on competitive activity humanization and harmonious personality development.

Conclusion. The questionnaire survey data and analyses showed that the modern Olympic movement is perceived by the respondents as being in crisis due to the growing use of doping and stimulants detrimental to the athletes’ spiritual, mental and physical health and the global sporting culture on the whole. Athletes are encouraged to take their own conscientious efforts to oppose doping in sports being fully aware of its negative costs for the global elite sports that fast evolve into a sort of show business with the relevant commercialization, professionalization and must-win-at-any-cost agendas.


  1. Alekseev S.V. Legal basis of professional sports activity. Textbook. M.: Sovetskiy Sport publ., 2013. 517 p.
  2. Askerov R., Durmanov N. Doping to become a big problem. Sport-express publ.. 2005. p. 183.
  3. Badrak K.A. Effect of experimental anti-doping educational program on the attitude of young people to doping in view of socio-pedagogical factors. Adaptivnaya fizicheskaya kultura. 2011. no. 2. pp. 8-11.
  4. Lubysheva L.I. Modern Olympic idea in context of reset of Olympic values. Proc. IX International Congress “Sport. Man. Health ”, April 25-27, 2019, St. Petersburg, Russia. V.A. Tajmazov [ed.]. St. Petersburg, 2019. pp. 36-38.
  5. Nazarenko L.D., Anisimova E.A. Education in sports. Moscow: Teoriya i praktika fizicheskoy kultury. 2016. 92p.

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Olympic sports may be defined as the specific activity of certain effects on the national policies and socio-economic situations. Competitive accomplishments in modern sports require high investments although they promote the nations, their images and improve the national positions for qualifications for the next Olympic Games. Analysis of the modern theoretical and practical literature on the doping issues in elite sports shows that many sport specialists, coaches and elite athletes believe that the modern Olympic movement is in serious crisis since the IOC, WADA and other international sports agencies pursue discriminatory policies disguised by the statutory anti-doping activity to marginalize national Olympic teams to simplify competitions for the US and other allies.

Moreover, the national teams of France, Germany, Finland, the USA and some other countries widely use medical certificates of fake respiratory diseases in the teams to openly use prescribed doping agents. This biased attitudes and fraud in the international sports has forced the Olympic movement on the brink of destruction.

This article discusses the current situation for the modern Olympic Games; growing WADA control and monopoly in the Olympic movement; and the growing control of the modern Olympic sports by vested political and financial interests. It analyzes the reasons for the prohibited pharmacological agents being increasingly used in sports and their destructive effects; and solutions offered by the leading physical education and sport specialists to put the Olympic movement back on track of its basic humanistic values and doping-free competitions. It is proposed to have these issues broadly discussed by elite athletes, coaches and sport therapists to help clean the sports from doping. The Olympic values and ideals need to be reset to facilitate further humanization of modern society.