Competitiveness is another greatly increasing factor in the Games. Whilst this has provided a greater spectacle for those watching the games, it can have adverse effects on athletes that find themselves under undue pressure.

Pressures on Athletes

The Olympic Games are the most competitive sports. The pressures on athletes are huge. Success is always linked with income of athletes. They have huge pressure to secure sponsorship and media attention.

Athletes who cannot win medals or have bad media coverage is not an ideal role model to sponsors and do not attract sponsorships. Very often, the training expenses of Olympic athletes come from their sponsors. Although this usually means that athletes are more determine to win, hence the increase of competitiveness, many athletes might turn to performance-enhancing drugs.

Drug abuse and testing in Modern Olympics

The use of performance-enhancing drugs is banned because:

  1. It defeats the Olympic ideal of fair play
  2. It can adversely affect the health of the athlete who uses it.

The first drug testing was conducted in 1968. In Modern Olympics, athletes who gain the first four places have to undergo drug testing.

Even with the huge effort the IOC has put into anti-doping, drug abuse is still a problem and some athletes even tried to get away by using 'natural' food supplements like turtle blood and sleeping in oxygenated tents.

Tonya Harding

Just before the 1994 Winter Games, the American figure skater Tonya Harding's closest rival Nancy Kerrigan was attacked after her skating practice. A man was arrested in connection to the case and revealed that Tonya Harding's ex husband had been involved and Harding actually knew about the attack.

The two men were jailed. Kerrigan won a silver medal whilst Harding never challenged for a medal.

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