Current Issues in Athletics Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:26:25
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Deviant behaviour is defined as behaviour which does not adhere to widely-accepted social or cultural norms. Deviance in sports is not something that has just begun; rather, it has been portrayed and, at times, exaggerated to the extent where there are reflections of obvious problems in professional sports, if not society as a whole. Deviance in sports began as soon as sports became an important competitive lifestyle for the individuals participating and witnessing the events.

The athlete is often the most scrutinized individual in terms of sports deviance. This is especially true today as many cultures have embraced individuals who want to live out their childhood dream to become a professional athlete as they have viewed top athletes as role models. With this constant pressure to perform well and the agenising lifestyle of constantly being in the spotlight, many athletes find themselves doing anything it takes to win. This article will look at the type of deviance associated with athletics for example: Drugs, gamesmanship etc.

Playing sports brings out the competitive sides of many athletes. To most athletes, winning is everything, and they will do absolutely anything to make sure they win, including the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Performance- enhancing drugs include:

1. Anabolic Steroids

2. Hormones including:

1. Erythropoietin (EPO)

2. Human Growth Hormone (hGH)

3. Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1)

4. Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG)

5. Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)

1. Beta-2-Agonists

2. Hormone Antagonists and Modulators

3. Diuretics

4. Even recreational drugs

These substances are banned at ALL times. Using drugs to cheat in sport is not new, but it is becoming more effective. . The problem of drugs in athletics is that as fast as scientists devise new tests for detecting traces of drugs in the body, there are other scientists that are devising more new products that enhance performance.

According to the Us Anti- Doping agency, if an athlete tests positive for doping of any of the banned substances there is a range of measures taken as punishment:

1. Loss of sponsorship deals

2. Loss of income

3. Wiping out of previous achievements

4. Damage to future career prospects

Under their Code, if an athlete tests positive for a prohibited substance they are usually liable for a one-year ban. An athlete may be eligible for a reduced sanction if they can prove they bore no significant fault or negligence.

Substances and methods used to dope have health consequences. Many can be lead to severe health issues or even death.

The use of recreational or social drugs is banned in sport. Whilst an athlete can be in a compromising situation with peers outside sport, its important for athletes to recognise that social drugs such as cannabis can be detrimental to sporting performance and result in a positive test result weeks later.

An example of drugs use is European champion sprinter Dwain Chambers. Who tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid in 2003. The allegation was strongly denied by his coach.

He was one of Britains best hopes for a gold medal at following years Olympic Games, Chambers allegedly failed a test for the newly discovered drug tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) which was thought to be undetectable. Traces of the drug were found in a urine sample that the European 100 metres champion and record holder provided during an out-of-competition test at his training base in Saarbrucken, Germany, on August 1, the Guardian newspaper reported.

At this time if Chambers failed the test and was banned from athletics for two years and from the Olympic Games for life. Though in 2008 he returned to athletics and competed in the European championships running the 60m to win silver. In the same year he also launched a High Court appeal against his lifetime ban from the Olympics but the decision of the British Olympic Authority (BOA) was upheld. Though in 2012 The Court of Arbitration for Sport over-ruled the BOAs lifetime Olympics ban for drug cheats, freeing Chambers up to compete at London 2012. He won the 100m at the UK Olympic trials with a time of 10.25sec and was selected for Team GB despite not running under the Olympic A standard.

Another example of doping is female GB sprinter Bernice Wilson. She was banned by Uk athletics this year as she tested positive for the anabolic steroid testosterone and Clenbuterol. Clenbuterol, similar to the asthma drug salbutamol, is used to treat breathing disorders as a decongestant and bronchodilator. It causes an increase in aerobic capacity, blood pressure and oxygen transportation, and speeds the rate at which fats are burned. It is officially classified as a sympathomimetic steroid. She was given a 4 year ban from athletics by the court of appeal and she will not be allowed to compete until 2015.

In my opinion I think athletes should be given lifetime bans from their sport because when their stories come out about them doping it doesnt give them a good image towards the younger generations that look up to and idolise these athletes. Linford Christie who served a two year drug ban from athletics competeion, said that atheletics is so corrupt now and I wouldnt want my child doing it.

The world Anti-Doping agency has launched the campagin Say NO to doping which aims to educate people on theeffects of performance enhancing drugs on both their health and sporting career. I believe more of these programmes should be set up and more people made aware of the consequences faced when taking drugs.


Another form of deviance is Gamesmanship. There is a fine line between cheating and gamesmanship. What you might consider cheating simply could be part of the game to another. Gamesmanship is defined as the use of dubious methods to win or gain a serious advantage in a game or sport. It has been described as Pushing the rules to the limit without getting caught, using whatever dubious methods possible to achieve the desired end.

A form of gamesmanship in athletics is a false start. An athlete can choose to abort the start after the on your marks and set commands and before the firing of the starting device by raising his hand or standing up. Thiscan intimitate the other competetiors on the starting blocks as once in the starting blocks the competetiors are not allowed to move until the gun has been sounded to signal the start of the event. The athlete may also be warned for improper conduct by the referee if the action was determined to be inappropriate. Sometimes competitors can disturb other athletes at the starting line and this may be considered a false start. If a starter isnt satisfied that all competitors are ready to proceed with the race, he will order the competitors to stand up.

The most famous example of a false start was Usain Bolt in the 100m final at the World Championships in Daegu. Bolt reacted, 0.104 seconds before the gun was fired. A second gun crack confirmed his his disqulification. Though in recent studies and slow-motion replays of the start of the race show how Blakes left leg twitched in the instant before Bolt pushed off from the blocks. Some commentators have suggested that Blake himself could, and maybe should, have been disqualified. The IAAF rules state that once the athletes are in the set position, they must not move, and Blakes leg clearly twitched. It was that rule which caused Dwain Chambers to be disqualified in his semi-final.

Another example of a false start was Christine Ohuruogu who was disqualified from the 400m in the worldchampionships in 2011. Such events are extremely rare in the 400m, but Ohuruogu came out of her blocks way ahead of any of her rivals. She told Channel 4 that, I knew it was me straight away. I cant believe it. I just wanted to get a good start as I knew it was going to be a fast round. Under the new false-start regulations brought in by the IAAF at the start of 2010, she was allowed no warning nor second chance and was shown a red card by officials before being ushered off the track in a state of shock she commented to the BBC that, Ive just wasted all that hard work, its just wasted.

Gender issues and equality:

Gender issue take two different forms in athletics. The two forms:

1. Gender equality- The number of men and woman in sport

2. Gender issues- Verifying the eligibility of an athlete to compete in a sporting event that is limited to a single sex.

Gender issues are a rare occasion in athletics. The issue arose a number of times in the Olympic Games where it was alleged that male athletes attempted to compete as women in order to win. The first mandatory sex test issued by the IAAF for woman athletes was in July 1950 in the month before the European Championships in Belgium. All athletes were tested in their own countries. Sex testing at the games began at the 1966 European Athletics Championships in response to suspicion that several of the best women athletes from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were actually men. At the Olympics, testing was introduced at the 1968 Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble.

While it arose primarily from the Olympic Games, gender verification affects any sporting event. However, it most often becomes an issue in elite international competition. The most famous example is Caster Semenya, a South African middle-distance runner and world champion. Semenya won gold in the womens 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 1:55.45 in the final. She was scrutinized because of her masculine appearance and it raised concerns and complaints to the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for all international athletic competitions outside the Olympics. She was banned from competing as gender tests where carried out on her. It took until July 2010 for the IAAF cleared her to compete.

The main issue is gender inequality in sport. In the past, and still to an extent today, many women have been stereotyped into domestic roles, leaving fewer opportunities or activites available for them to participate in as sports where viewed to be male dominant. It wasnt until the 1980s a more enlightened and equal approach began to emerge which allowed womans sports to blossom in the UK. For the first time in the 2012 London Olympic Games, every country that was competeing had women in their teams. Women this year made up approximately 45% of the atheltes whereas in 1948 in Los Angeles only 24% of those competing were women. Only 16 years ago, in Atlanta, 26 countries did not send any women at all, according to website Muslim Women in Sport.

Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman, said: Weve had more women competing in these Games. Some of the big, high-profile moments have focused on women. Its really moved the agenda on. But Jowell said the ongoing gender imbalance was symptomatic of wider discrimination against women in sport.

Sport England has an aim to get more women back into sport. Sport Englands most recent figures, published last month, showed that one in eight women play sport in regularly England compared with one in five men. Among disadvantaged communities, the number of women drops to one in 10. They will invest £10 million into 20 projects to reduce the gender gap.


Racism in sport is a problem which is manifest around the world. It has led to a wide range of controversial incidents which have been reported in the media. The sport itself does not induce racism. The people that participate in the playing, organization, and implementation of sports bring racism into sports.

One of the most notorious examples of racism in an international sporting event occurred in the 1936 Olympics, which were held in Berlin, Germany, in the Nazi era. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler hoped that the Olympic events would display the superiority of the Aryan race”that is, he hoped that the white athletes would greatly surpass athletes of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. When black American track and field athlete Jesse Owens (19131980) won four gold medals, a stunned Hitler angrily left the stadium. German fans, however, received Owens well and cheered his accomplishments.

Though in more recent events Greek champion triple jumper Voula Papachristou has became the first athlete banned from competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games for posting racist and offensive comments on Twitter.

Papachristou a supporter of the far-right political party Golden Dawn, posted the offensive tweet, which she now claims was a joke.

The tweet said: With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!

This was to be her first Olympics where she was to be recognised for her triple jumping but instead she was recognised for all the wrong reasons.

Another example of racism in athletics was the Australian athlete John Steffensen. He claims he was racially abused by Athletics Austrailia by not being selected for thr 4X400m relay event in the London Olympic Games.

He commented in a Channel 9 interview saying, Ive put up with being racially vilified by this federation, being discriminated against on many teams, he said of AAs decision to name the 19-year-old Solomon ahead of him for the one-lap race. ¦You think I waste my time running at training for fun? For this? No, they can have athletics. I dont need to do this no more. I dont think it helps the legitimacy of our sport or the selection criteria, and I think it only makes our sport look stupid.

Athletics Austraila chief Dallas OBrien says John Steffensens claims of racism are regrettable but no disciplinary action will be taken against the 400m runner.

Education and sport in schools:

Physical education and sport in schools has become a key issue involved in education. Targets have been set for schools to create more time for sports. It is said that in primary schools pupils should have 75-90 minutes of physical education and in secondary school; the amount of time and range of activities can become mnore flexible.

They must aim though for minimum of two hours of sport per week. According to the British government: Every secondary school will receive funding up to the end of the academic year in 2013 to pay for one day a week of a PE teachers time to be spent out of the classroom, encouraging greater take-up of competitive sport in primary schools and securing a fixture network for schools to increase the amount of intra- and inter-school competition. Lottery funding from Sport England will also be deployed to build a framework of competitions as part of the new School Games.

Though in recent surveys, doctors found 17 per cent of boys and 16 per cent of girls between 12 and 15 are classed as either overweight or obese and nearly three quarters of children are not getting their recommended 60 minutes of daily activity. But with the recent London Olympics the number of children regularly taking part in competitive sport has gone up, a new government report shows, but its still less than half of all pupils increasing from 28% last year to 39% this year. This shows major events have had an impact on younger children but as it states there is still not enough young peole taking part and there is a many of excuses for avoiding it. Even when people leave school at the age of 18 involvement in sport drops dramatically as they have no longer sport as a complusory part of their acedemic cirriculum.

The British government along with Sport England have launched their campaign Sport; a habit for life this will focus mainly on the youth, facilities and physical education in schools all over the UK with the aim of increasing participation.

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