I hope my opinion stays neutral as possible, and my perspective helps to understand, rather than accuse. Most of you see these women as cheaters; I think we should keep our minds open.

Also, this topic interest me most in the aspect of sharing personal stories of women who tried doping and are willing to (anonymously) talk about it. If you know any, please refer them to me.

Professional sports exist to redefine limits of human performance.

What is doping?

Doping refers to the use of prohibited drugs or methods, athletes take to enhance their performance. You might have heard of PEDs and WADA.

PEDs is an abbreviation for performance enhancing drugs, substances used to improve human performance.

WADA is the World Anti-Doping Agency which key activities include scientific research, education, development and monitoring of anti-doping policies. Each year WADA lists substances that are considered as doping: the 2015 prohibited list.

I have no idea how accurate the list is, but here is the current overview of all athletes who failed the test: list of doping cases.

To understand doping, you have to understand professional sports.

While for most of us, sports are fun, for professional athletes their careers equals a job, money flow which financially supports their lives. Imagine you get fired? What are the consequences?

Second, if you have never competed in any sport, you don`t know the drive behind. The power of knowing you have a chance is enormous and good-moral people take conscious decisions to live a life of professional athletes, along with the cons those lives bring. With all the downsides that go with professional sports, there is also the “whirl of collective”. To be competitive with others, you have to be willing to take all available steps to get there.

I`ll start part one with the stories of three women: 

The story of Kelli White

“I felt there were so many people doing it, that I would just be one of the others…”

Kelli White is a former American sprinter who, after the BALCO affair, was stripped of her 2003 World Championship titles, won in 100/200 meters sprints. She was a client of the infamous Victor Conte who referred to White as being hyper-respondent.”Cream and clear”, doping methods Conte used, had a dramatic effect not only on her performance (two meters in 30 days, 100m sprint), but also her body (acne, lower voice, body changes, every week period).

“Looking back now, and looking at different people, it`s an obvious sign”, explained White in a interview for ABC.

While White`s Worlds titles were taken away, medals were passed on to second-placed athletes. Who, same as White, later also tested positive.

Doping is not all big and muscular

Most you are familiar with the East German State Plan 14.25, doping plan that lead some women suffer dramatic consequences (cancer, gender change). Most often, also due to bodybuilding, doping refers to muscles mass and masculine outlook.

Doping comes in all shapes and sizes. Ballerinas and dancers have long been considered artists rather than athletes. With multiple shows a week, time-clicking careers and higher demands on the movement, Ballet and performance arts dancers easily fall into the athlete category.

Injury rate of professional ballet dancers is believed to circle around 67-95 percent. Injury also hints you career is runnig out of time (and age). Those factors can contribute to decisions for drugs to treat overuse, trauma, inflammation and exhaustion in general. Croatian study even suggest 25% of dancers would use doping if it would ensure successful ballet performance, regardless of negative health effect.

Doping for the grades or the use of the nootropics: the smart drugs known as cognitive, also called memory, neuro or intelligence, enhancers most often found in academic use (students). Among 206 French students of Medicine and Pharmacology, 139 of them reported to consume at least one cognitive enhancement in the past 12 months, suggests study from 2014.

Is that considered as doping?

The swimming mystery of Ye Shiwen

In 2012, at London`s Olympics, Ye Shiwen set a new milestone in women swimming. Not only, she established a new World Record, her time in the last 50 meters was faster than Ryan Lochte`s who won the same event in men`s division (28.3 versus 29.10). Chinese teams have been failing doping tests in 1990s, but Shiwen is clean. Or not proven.

Shiwen did not celebrate her achievement, as media outbreak from fellow swimmers, coaches and even scientist followed right after.

Ye Shiwen was also only 16 years old.

Still a teenager, Shiwen took the pressure that later lead to depression. While the swimming scene was trying to prove the gene doping worked, nobody protected the 16-year-old exposed.

The sweetheart of track and field: Marion Jones

Sydney`s Olympics in 2005: Jones came home with five medals. For years, she was the heroine of athletics.

All five medals, together with records, have been taken away in 2007 after she admitted supplementing her performance with doping. Like White, Jones was a client of Conte. But in contrast to White, denied ever taking PEDs and later even end up with a 6-month prison sentence for lying under oath on her use of steroids.

Athletes, placed behind Jones at Sydney`s Olympics, have later all been proven to use PEDs as well.


I think deciding on giving up a professional career and compete at lower levels, doping free, is the bravest decision any aspiring athlete can take. It`s admirable. Giving up fame and world-class results in order to follow your morals and values. But I can also understand professional sports, the drive to get there and the feel of possibility to make it. After all, I was also watching Lillehammer 1994 and our Slovenian ski squad winning three Olympic medals. And I also took the decision to end my skiing training in order to finish school and University to live the “normal” life. Do I regret my decision? No. Do I miss the days of being taught how to be a professional athlete? Yes.

Our perspective on doping use will vary based on backgrounds, values and religious views we nurture.

What is your view on women and doping?