Sport has become such big business over the past twenty five years. There is not a major sporting event that has been engulfed in sponsorship from the big bold world of corporate business. Don't get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad thing, indeed on the contrary to that point the corporate world getting involved in sport sponsorship has meant much more funding for athletes and sportsmen and women to enable them to pursue their sporting ambitions to the best possible level that they can without having to hold down a full time job.
But as we all know and understand, money can corrupt and within any walk of life their will always be someone who is willing to push the boundaries of what is acceptable to the very edge in the hope of winning a medal and achieving greater fame leading to greater financial reward. Back in the 1960's and 1970's the Eastern bloc countries were heavily involved in a state run performance enhancing substance program for their athletes, not so they could achieve greater financial rewards as they were communists but for the pride of their country against their common enemy, the West and in particular the USA.
When the Berlin Wall came down this program ceased but the abusing of performance enhancing substances did not. In fact the total opposite has happened, each year more and more athletes are being found guilty of taking these substances. Granted the testing of athletes has got more stringent and is much more advanced than it was many years ago but add to this the fact that more and more laboratories are getting involved in the development of these substances and you can then begin to understand the scale of the battle that the authorities are facing.
Personal sponsorship of athletes in many ways can help to inadvertently fight the battle against performance enhancing drugs in sport, if an athlete feels he or she is being financially rewarded suitably for the effort that they are putting in and for the results that they are achieving there is less chance that the athlete will turn to drugs. If you add into this the fact that as well as a lengthy ban from the athletes sport they will also lose any sporting endorsement contracts that they may have had. Corporate business loves winners but even they struggle to turn the publicity of a sporting cheat in to a positive.
When you consider that virtually every item of clothing that a top class sportsman will wear on to his chosen field of sport will be sponsored to some degree, sports shoes, shorts, vest, shirt, sweater, hat, gloves, socks even their sport sunglasses will have attracted the sponsorship of a supplier. So they really do have a lot to lose if they get caught out cheating, but to so many it is still worth the risk. Sporting sponsorship is very big business for all sportwear manufacturing companies.
Sports cheats still fall into two categories, those who cheat because of greed and want all of the money and trappings that go with fame and the second type of sports cheat is the athlete or sports man or women who genuinely wants to be the number one in their given field, granted this will bring the fortunes that are associated with a winner but the main reason for their cheating is their desire to be unbeatable.
This years Olympics will be the biggest corporately sponsored event the world has ever known, ironic really that it is taking place in a communist country.
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Harwood E Woodpecker