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Testosterone in Athletics

Testosterone can be used to improve one’s performance. In sports, testosterone shots or creams are supposed to be magic bullets that spur athletes to run, jump, swim and to recover faster, and to become more aggressive and focused. However, it is considered to be a form of doping in most sports. [575] Anabolic steroids (including testosterone) have also been taken to build muscles, enhance strength, or endurance. They work directly by increasing the protein synthesis of the muscles, leading to large muscle fibers and enhanced repairing ability. [576]
After a series of scandals and publicity such as Ben Johnson’s improved performance at the 1988 Summer Olympics, the use of anabolic steroids were banned by many sports organizations. In 1990, the United States Congress prohibited testosterone and other anabolic steroids and were designated as a “”controlled substance””, resulting in the creation of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act. [577]
Some female athletes may have naturally higher levels of the hormone testosterone than others, and may be asked by certain sports regulating body to consent to a “therapeutic proposal”, either surgery or drugs, to decrease testosterone levels to an acceptable level to compete fairly with others. [578]
History of Testosterone’s Use as an Anabolic Steroid
There is a significant difference between testosterone boosters and steroids. Testosterone boosters are consists of natural ingredients and supplements such as those from plants, [579] while steroids are synthetic substances that are created in a laboratory and are usually prescribed by doctors to treat a variety of health related issues. [580] However, the use of steroids for the purpose of muscle building or enhancing an athlete’s performance without a prescription, are actually illegal. There are two common steroids in the market: anabolic and androgenic steroids. Anabolic steroids are designed to promote muscle growth while androgenic steroids are designed to assist with sexual dysfunction such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. [581] Most anabolic steroids are taken orally, through a pill while others are injected.
Anabolic steroids did not receive a worldwide recognition until the 20th century but the use of pure testosterone can be traced back to the original Olympic Games. [582] Early Olympic athletes were known to ingest animal testicles before a competition to improve their performance. [583] In 1935, researchers in the Netherlands were the first to isolate a few pure milligrams of testosterone. They named the substance “testosterone” from the words testicle, sterol and the suffix of ketone. [584] Also during this year, Butenandt and Hanisch created the first synthetic version of testosterone from cholesterol. [585] It was made available to the medical community for experimentation and treatment purposes. Later, during World War II, it was found that this artificial form of testosterone can help malnourished soldiers gain weight and improve performance during combat. [586] After the war, athletes began to use steroids to have an edge over other competitors.
In the 1956 Olympics in Moscow, Soviet wrestlers performed at exceptionally high levels after using the male anabolic steroid testosterone. [587] After learning about this incident, an American physician named John Bosley Ziegler created a more selective form of what we know as anabolic steroids. [588] From that point until the early 1970’s, the use of anabolic steroids became increasingly popular among Olympic athletes and professional sports players. In 1975, the International Olympic Committee finally prohibited the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in Olympic competition. [589] However, black market sales continued to increase in the following years. In 1988, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was introduced in order to stiffen the penalties for the sale and possession of anabolic steroids. In 1990, the United States Congress prohibited anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, and placed certain anabolic steroids on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). [590] Previously, the use of steroids was controlled only by state laws. Today, illegal sales of steroids are still prevalent among athletes, bodybuilders and even adolescents.

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