Some athletes seeking to push the boundaries of their personal performance may find it tempting to grab a competitive advantage by looking beyond their training and nutrition. And on the world’s biggest stage, at the Olympic Games, there are all too many instances of athletes who have turned to the use of a chemical advantage to gain a leg up on their fellow competitors.
Most performance-enhancing substances are banned in sports, but there are still many that either can’t be reliably detected or that have yet to be classified. In Olympics history, cheaters often face swift punishment, but sometimes, official rulings take years to resolve. Secondary drug tests may catch the offender after the competition, or arbitration may drag on. And no matter how clearly the rules are defined, debates over what actions should be punished, and how severely, endure.
After his first Tour de France victory in 1999, American cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong immediately became an icon of resilience. As his popularity grew, so did the profile of Livestrong, his charitable cancer organization. But his seven Tour de France titles (from 1999 to 2005) were revoked in 2012 after years of suspicion culminated in the exposure of an elaborate, multifaceted doping scheme within Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service team.
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