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In approximately 750 words, write a critique of the article ‘Drugs and the Olympics’.
Your critique should:
Summarize the writer’s argument (in no more than one paragraph);
Evaluate the argument, i.e. assess its strengths and weaknesses;
Make reference to the secondary materials ‘Doping: Banned Substances’ and ‘The
Dirtiest Games Ever?’ where appropriate (avoiding plagiarism);
Contain accurate language use.
Drugs and the Olympics
“WHERE does the power come from, to see the race to its end?” asks Eric Liddell in that
cinematic celebration of the Olympian ideal, “Chariots of Fire”. The runner's answer?
“From within.” Eighty years after Liddell won his gold medal, for competitors at the
Olympic games starting next week in Athens that power may come instead from without
—in the form of drugs designed to maximise performance.
There was “doping” in sport even before the days of Liddell; cyclists, boxers, swimmers
and others made use of alcohol, strychnine, cocaine and sundry other substances to ease
the pain and give them an edge. But by 1988, when a Canadian runner, Ben Johnson, was
stripped of his 100m gold at the Seoul Olympics for failing a drugs test, it was clear that
doping had become rife—not just in nasty communist regimes such as East Germany and
China, with their famously manly female athletes, but in western countries too. If doping
may play a lesser role than it might have done this month in Athens, it is only because
allegations about the use of the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone by clients of BALCO, a
dietary supplements firm in California, have deprived the Olympics of some of its
likeliest medallists—as well as highlighting the pervasive use of steroids in some non-
Olympic sports such as America's Major League Baseball, now dubbed the “new East
The evidence of doping has been greeted with almost universal condemnation, at least
from those parts of the media that love a scandal and the chance to bring down a hero,
and from politicians. George Bush has added the war on doping to his broader war on
drugs, using this year's state-of-the-union address to urge sport to “get rid of steroids
now” and bringing high-profile indictments against sporting dope-peddlers. Those in
charge of sport are rapidly losing any ambivalence they once had, and joining a crusade
against doping led by the redoubtable head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),