Helen Gilby and Alan Guilder (Coach)
I dedicate this topic to my former lecturer of the then College of Physical Education, Helen Gilby, who showed me the truth about drugs.She and my coach, later on, by the name of Alan Guilder were instrumental in enabling me to do well in marathon (Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon 1994, 2hr 34min 02sec, and in Chiengmai SEA Games marathon 2hr 24min 22sec, 1995)
What you need to know about drugs to improve sports performance.
An Introduction - Simple writing as opposed to scientific writing.
I will not write this scientifically as it will be difficult for a layman to understand the effects of drugs like anabolic steroids etc. For a detailed knowledge and understanding, I am hoping to write more scientifically so that people are well informed, as they may want to know more.
Effects of drugs - Long term negative health effects and Cheating
When somebody says,"Good job on your performance", and if you have taken drugs to improve, it simply means,"Good job on your cheating". One should be ashamed about oneself rather than being happy about it.
If one says,"The other runner cheated, so I cheated." This calls for the authorities to make the race as fair as possible by doing random testing, on any athlete when they want to test for drugs. If you are innocent, there is nothing to worry at all. When you are innocent, you can sleep peacefully and smile throughout your life. When you are guilty, your own conscience will prick you. This is my believe.
Usually, people, in the pursuit of excellence, especially when they are young, are very interested to improve on one's sports performance. They overlook the fact of the effects of what the drug can do in the long term, as in the short term they are usually happy going through a period of success, success and more success.
However, in the mid-term due to the effects of the muscles becoming much stronger, with the tendons and ligaments, not having the corresponding ability to withstand the force of speed generated by the muscular contraction of the runner, especially at the lower limb, one ends up, usually getting permanent injury.
I have heard of a number of runners who ran fast, in the past, but are no more running now, for performance or even for health currently. Some I believe that it is due to usual performance injury etc. As for some, one of my friend told me that it could have been due to drugs.
East Germany and drugs
It was in the East Germany that anabolic steroid drugs and testosterones were used for performance enhancement by the authorities themselves for enhancing their performance in the 1970s Olympics. The authorities wanted to show that their country was very successful in sports to mask the economic problems that were going on in the country. They had huge success, in the world, with the project, especially in the women competitions. The world were looking towards East Germany for sporting success.
However, earlier on athletes in East Germany were, in the name of health supplements, were given anabolic steroids, instead. As it was a communist country, in the past, the authorities kept the project a well guarded secret from the athletes themselves. Documents were, however, written when the effects of drugs were found during the drug taking over time, like sickness, allergies and other side-effects of the drugs. Everything was documented so that the scientist were also trying to find the cure for this, while the training was going on smooth.
Parents were not able to see their children, after talent identification and selection process done by the authorities.
A number of gold medals and world records were broken by the then East Germany. At that time, the authorities ensured that 2 weeks before the major competition, all traces of steroid drug was cleared in the body and the cellular level, so the with the drug testing nothing can be found to label the country a cheat. There was unfair advantage going on with the usage of drugs. Women became more muscular and stronger.
When East Germany and West Germany merged, with the destroying of the man-made Berlin Wall, the truth that was documented in Liepzig, East Germany, was revealed. That is why, even now, when one comes from East Germany, some people are uncomfortable to take them as coaches, as their training methods have involved the banned substance steroid.
Drugs usage in sports, although has been used in the west also, as in the east, was more prevalent in the Eastern bloc countries of the past.
Effects of Drugs.
From the records of the athletes, negative effects were found in Germany.
Drowning in the pool - In The Then East Germany
As a 16 year old swimmer was swimming in the pool, after having a lot of improvement in swimming speed the teenager was not able to take the demand of the training that was going on and he just was found dead in the pool. The authorities, just for the sake of continuing the project, did not tell the truth to the public that it was because of intensive use of steroid. The central system of the swimmer, involving the heart, was not able to take the punishment of the training.
Hair Growth - Female to Male
Girls were found to have hair grown and the face started to change. A women literally began to look and behaviour like a man, having male voice and features. In an interview, she said that it was very hard for her to go to supermarket etc as people called her homosexual etc. Because of this the athlete could not mix with the society and lived like a recluse. She ultimately married a fellow female athlete in the East Germany team. The reason for this can be traced to the hormonal imbalance caused by the banned substance anabolic steroid.
Men have the hormone called testosterone which makes man manly. As for female, naturally, the hormone called estrogen is produced to make them feminine, by gestures, voice, body shape etc. Due to the imbalance caused by the steroid, men are found to have breast later on, with other female characteristics coming in along the way. A female starting to look like a male takes place over a long period of time, due to intense taking of drugs.
East German parents who saw their daughters doing well in the sports, after some years, found that their child having hoarse voice, and were found to have male characteristics like aggressive behaviour bodily hair and so on.
There are several cause for balding. Some is old age and some is due to genetics and other factors as well. It is however shown by scientific evidence that too much taking of drugs will lead one to balding. This has been documented in several studies.
High Density Lipo-protein fats are known to be good fats. It helps in lowering bad fats, called Low Density Lipo - protein in our body. By doing sports, studies show that HDL fats will increase over time. However, due to drugs intake, one may lowered HDL fats in the body due to steroid or banned substance intake. I have heard of people dying from lever dyfunction.
A friend that I met a few years ago told me that he took drugs to improve performance. Now, after hearing from a doctor he has fatty lever. My friend is all the time worried what is going to happen next. He told me that he was so foolish to take drug when he was young. He told me that he was rash to make the decision and he is regretful of his mistake. He is now worried about his loved ones - his son and his wife.
Female who took drugs in the then East Germany saw themselves to have aggressive behaviour in themselves. There were mood swing etc from drug taking. They also suffered from depression.
In the long term, one will age earlier. Hence, that means that the people that ingest the banned substances like drugs etc will be weaker earlier on in life.
The the above-mentioned effects are some of the negative results of taking banned substance like anabolic steroid etc. Just for a short period of glory, a young athlete is attracted to improve one's performance to a greater extent. It is in the hope that one knows about the effects of drugs that one think about themselves and family and choose the righteous path to do well in sports.
Paula Radcliffe, the world record holder of marathon, currently, have written in her book that every athlete should go for drug testing, in order to bring fairness and to stop doping practices. I support Paula in this quest as she wants to press on on this believe that athletes should not run with banned substance, steroid, testosterone etc.