Currently splashed across the news is Olympic cyclist Lance Armstrong. Having recently admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, Lance has been stripped of his seven Tour De France titles, an Olympic bronze medal and countless endorsement deals. But what drugs did this athlete use and how did they help him win?
What drugs did Armstrong use?
In an interview with Opera Winfrey, Lance admitted to using a list of performance enhancing drugs including: EPO, testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH).
EPO, or Erythropoietin, of a blood-enhancing hormone that is naturally produced in the kidneys. Athletes looking for an artificial boost can inject themselves with an artificially produced version to increase their endurance. The hormone is injected under the skin and stimulates red blood cell production. This allows more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles, which then delays fatigue and thus increases endurance.
Testosterone is another natural hormone that is injected to increase performance. Increasing testosterone levels, athletes can raise energy levels and increase bone density and muscle mass.
Human growth hormone is aptly named as it stimulates the growth of muscle, cartilage and bone. By injecting this natural hormone, sportsmen can increase their muscle mass and decrease recovery time. This means an athlete can train harder and for longer.
With Lance admitting to using all these hormones to increase his performance, why did he then pass his doping tests? Lance himself said he didn’t fail a test and with no concrete answers as to why he wasn’t caught earlier, there will most probably be an investigation to find answers.