EPO in Sport Essay

This essay has a total of 883 words and 7 pages.


EPO in Sport





The use of erythropoietin (EPO) by athletes in recent years has made the headlines of

sports pages around the world. In this essay we will look at the evidence of EPO use

in sport. What leads athletes to using it? We will also look at the advantages and

disadvantages of its use for someone who wishes to do so.


Athletes are continually seeking an added edge to attain better performances and

results. Many are prepared to use pharmaceutical agents to achieve their goals. They

don’t have to look far as there are numerous ergogenic drugs available to them.

Recombinant EPO is one of the most prominent. The statistics of rhEPO

production worldwide paints a grim picture. Research done by an Italian lawyer

shows that only 20% of rhEPO production is required for medical purposes. 50% of

all rhEPO production is sold officially leaving the other 50% to fall into the wrong

hands. We must also wonder what happens to the other 80% not for medical use.


Cycling has always been a haven for performance enhancing drug use. At the 1998

Tour de France, the entire Festina team were disqualified including 4 times “King of

the Mountains,” Richard Virenque on the grounds of drug abuse. The team masseur

Willy Voet was arrested at the French-Belgian border with vials of EPO. Ten

members of the Festina team are currently on trial for drug related charges. The wife

of Willy Voet testified that EPO among other drugs, “ended up taking more space

than food in our fridge.”

In January of this year a police investigation was carried out at a biomedics research

centre in Ferrara, Italy. The search of the clinic run by a Professor Francesco Conconi

revealed extensive use of rhEPO by a number of athletes under his care. Names who

appeared on the files included Irish legend Stephen Roche as well as many Italian

house hold names. The evidence that rhEPO use does exist and is rampant not only in

cycling is confounding.


How does rhEPO boost performance?

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein hormone secreted naturally, by the cells of the

peritubular capillary endothelium of the kidneys but also to a very small extent in the

liver. It is usually secreted in response to hypoxia in the renal arterial circulation. Its
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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