Youth and substance abuse in sport

The scourge of drugs in societies around the world has been the focus of media attention for many years. We have witnessed the degradation of the youth of many societies regardless of their history and longstanding traditions. Every society seems to have been affected in one way or another.
It should have come as no surprise to anyone therefore that it was only a matter of time before the scourge entered the once hallowed hall of sport.
Hallowed halls did we say?
How hallowed have been the walls of sport?
There are many who would readily suggest that the world of sport has always been tainted by the use of performance enhancing substances by athletes as far back as the Olympic Games of antiquity and that since those times the authorities have been seeking ways of stemming the tide in this regard.

The global scenario
The sport of Cycling has been a hotbed of accusations of drug use by its participants for many years. One cyclist dropped dead during a road race at the Olympic Games and that fuelled speculation at the time about the deleterious consequences of the use of illegal substances to gain a competitive edge.
Cycling has had more than its fair share of drug cheats but the leaders of the sport at the international level pussyfooted about the way in which this thorny issue should be dealt with. For many years the leaders turned the other way, pretending that it was not happening. Eventually, bowing to some measure of international pressure the International Cycling Union (UCI) began giving punitive measures to offenders such that within a few weeks of having tested positive and serving a sentence the cyclists were back in the sport returning to their winning ways.
Since the onset of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and the insistence that governments and all international federations (IF) had to sign on or be thrown out of the Olympic Games programme meant that cycling was forced to comply albeit almost grudgingly. The net result has been that in the recent past the premium events of the international cycling community have been the focus of media attention largely as a consequence of the challenges being posed to the performances of some cyclists and the vigilance of the UCI.