I recently read an article on the Today News about Lance Armstrong, and I was interested to find that he claimed that he was surrounded by “dirty” riders while refusing to admit that he had partaken of performance enhancing drugs himself. Although he won seven Tour de France titles, he lost them after he admitted to have taken performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong will never truly know what he was capable of because his phenomenal wins took place because he was getting outside help. I can’t help but think how Armstrong would have performed if he had just stuck with hard training, determination, and perseverance. Now the cyclist that was known for overcoming the obstacle of having testicular cancer has tainted his reputation by becoming the amazing cyclist that fell from grace because he took performance enhancing drugs to help his career.
Although none of my friends have ever taken actual performance enhancing drugs, my friends and I are notorious for “needing caffeine” to get us through finals week, exams, and late night study sessions. Because we are just using caffeine to stay awake, none of us think that we are using a performance enhancing drug per say, but we are still helping our bodies function outside of the usual energy level and stay awake later to accomplish more. Although none of us take copious amounts of caffeine because not many of my friends are on sports teams, the friends that I had in high school would quickly take a Red Bull, Monster, or some other type of highly caffeinated drink before their races. Some of my friends would go so far that they would be shaking before their events. I understand the need to win, but how far do we allow ourselves to go before it is no longer our ability that is getting us through our exams or racing but instead the “performance enhancing drug” that we are taking that is responsible for our achievements?