Opinion: Olympic drug restrictions are necessary

Barbara Kuznetsova, Staff Writer

Image by Liam Killian

As many are aware, the Winter Olympic Games are currently taking place in Beijing which will span until the closing ceremonies on February 20. Most spectators are proud of all candidates that receive gold medals regardless of the country that they represent. But unfortunately, not all athletes play fairly. 

According to CBS News, it was confirmed that Russian figure skater Kamila Valvieva failed her drug test prior to the start of the games but was still allowed to compete. While the pressure to win and make one’s country proud is understandable, to use banned substances for one’s advantage is never justified. Strict drug restrictions are necessary to preserve the integrity of Olympic sports. 

The Olympics are not only about athletes fighting for gold medals. They are an opportunity of unity when all countries can gather together and forget about political conflicts. But some athletes don’t want to win a fair fight as they prioritize dominating in the games over showcasing their prized skills.

While it may be easier for some athletes to use performance enhancing substances, that takes away any sense of fairness in competition. Athletes who do so perform to a greater extent than those who achieved their level with persistence and hard work. Athletes train for years to achieve great feats, and their skills should not be diminished by other athletes taking drugs with which they can achieve the same, or better results. 

While many drugs are prohibited from the Olympics to ensure fairness, the same substances can be detrimental to the well-being of participants. In outlawing the use of such substances, Olympic officials are not only keeping in mind the fairness of the games, but the best interest of the athletes. It is not a coincidence that there are side effects written on pill bottles. According to the NCBI, with doping some people might be hyperactive, prone to fainting, increasing body recovery capacity or increasing endurance. Professional sports already put athletes’ health at risk, and if they push themselves further with performance enhancing substances, it can induce long term damage.

The Olympics are supposed to unite people to showcase incredible talent. The desire to win should never override the integrity of the sport. The restrictions that are put in place are there for a reason, and should be strictly enforced for the sake of fair competition and health of participants. I can only hope that changes will be made to ensure that the use of banned drugs will not be tolerated in order to preserve the integrity of the Olympic Games.