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Top 5 Athletes who were caught Doping

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'Hand of God'

In the past, there have been several incidences where an athlete is at the peak of his career only to land in the pitfall of the doping. History is full of such incidences, where athletes have been stripped of their medals, achievements, world records and most of all, veneration from the society.

There are several types of doping agents used in different sports as every game demand a different skillset. Anabolic steroids are generally used in athletics as it increases the testosterone level, but the side-effects are very fatal like increased blood pressure, acne, and liver dysfunction. Synthetic Oxygen Carriers and Blood doping are very actively used in order to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of blood.

Another drug which is used for doping in games like shooting and archery is, 'Propranolol'. Archery and Shooting events require a high level of concentration which cannot be achieved easily, owing to anxiety and adrenaline. Propranolol is used to control the breathing pattern and suppress the adrenaline rush in the body.

Today, I have compiled the list of top 5 athletes who were found guilty of drug consumption for winning several titles and world records.


#5 Diego Maradona

The name needs no introduction. 'The Golden Boy' was at the career peak in 1986 FIFA World Cup held in Mexico. The most controversial and crucial match was against England in the quarter-finals in Aztec, which also witnessed the famous 'Hand of God Goal'.

This was also the first FIFA tournament after Falkland War 1982, which was decisively won by Great Britain. Argentinians were driven both with anguish and emotion which yielded a 2-1 victory, both goals delivered by Maradona.

According to an article published by The Telegraph on 29 Oct 2008, there are various notorieties which Maradona had attached himself with. Maradona was alleged and later proved to be on cocaine while playing for Italian football club 'Napoli', resulting in 15 months suspension.

Once again Maradona faced 15 months suspension after being found guilty of doping by FIFA anti-doping agency in 1994 FIFA World Cup. He was immediately sent back to Argentina for his ignoble act.

#4 Ben Johnson

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Ben Johnson at 1988 Seoul

Hailed as one of the fastest men on the planet, Ben Johnson was beaten by the 'justice'. The Jamaican-born Canadian sprinter certainly represented the golden age of Canadian athletics. Ben was among the few elite personalities who were awarded 'Order of Canada' in 1987. He was also the recipient of the bronze medal in 1984 in 100 meters.

In 1988, after winning gold and setting up the new world record in Seoul Olympics in 100 meters, the International Olympics Committee found Johnson guilty of doping as his urine sample had tested positive for the prohibited anabolic steroids. Johnson later confessed that he had been using steroids for a very long time.

#3 Asafa Powell

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Asafa Powell

Asafa Powell was once the fastest athlete with 9.74 seconds in 100 meters. Powell also holds the world record of breaking 10 seconds barrier for 97 times -- the highest ever by any individual. Powell was part of the Jamaican Relay team and received the gold in 2016 Rio Olympics.

But Powell tested positive for the infamous proscribed drug 'oxilofrine' in June 2013. Sherone Simpson, a fellow athlete also tested positive for the same chemical. But Powell made a clear stand that he was totally unaware of consuming any banned chemical as he was participating in camp.

But this wasn't enough to alter the ruling of International Olympic Committee. On 10 April 2014, Powell and Simpson received an 18-month suspension.

#2 Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Mr. Olympia

Starting out as a professional bodybuilder, the 'Terminator' won the Mr. Universe title at the age of 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times in a row. Later, Arnold led a successful professional career as an actor, director, filmmaker, businessman, philanthropist, author and currently a politician. He has also served two terms as the 38th Governor of California, representing the Republican party.

Years later, Arnold admitted to using steroids in a shocking revelation. He said that drugs were 'new' in those days and were actively recommended by doctors for bodybuilding and faster healing. Rules for drugs were tangible in those days and also less awareness drove almost everyone to consume substances at least in bodybuilding, to remain in the competition.

#1 Lance Armstrong

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Celebration after 2004 Tour de France

Lance Armstrong was once the most revered name not only in cycling, but also in the whole sporting world. Lance Armstrong had won 4 major titles before succumbing to cancer in 1996. The chances of Lance coming back in cycling were bleak, but he miraculously returned in 1998 after successfully completing his chemotherapy.

Armstrong won a plethora of titles after returning from cancer. Returning to cycling in 1998, he became a member of the US Postal Discovery team. He won his all Tour de France titles which started in 1999 and the bronze medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics as a member of this team. Armstrong retired from International career after the 2005 Tour de France.

News of Armstrong caught in doping came as a shock to the whole world in 2012, as the spirit of the game was blotted. Fans were appalled at the confession made by Armstrong in an Interview in 2013 and Lance drew worldwide criticism. He was stripped of all his medals from 1998 onwards.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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