Doping prevention: Education by athletes, for athletes

10 November 2017

Part of being a great athlete is being able to perform your best, even under pressure. But sometimes that pressure can also make you wonder whether you need something ‘extra’ to help you perform, and ultimately lead to doping.

There can be other triggers too. Some athletes might feel pressure to recover from injury and get back on the field quickly. Others have to deal with the fear of letting down their coach or team mates, or the fear of losing sponsorship or funding.

ASADA recognises that the decision to dope is rarely black and white, and that moments like these can crop up at any time. And that often, it can feel like there is no one to talk to, or that no one else really understands.

That is why we have released a new collection of videos about doping developed by athletes, for athletes.

The videos are designed to prompt athletes, parents and coaches to think about the implications of doping, the options available to them and the importance of their support networks.

They examine pressures like the fear of letting your teammates or coach down, the fear of staff losing their jobs because you don’t perform, or the fear of not making a team in the first place.

They also encourage athletes to think ahead before making the decision to dope – how will you explain it to your family? What sort of example are you setting for people who look up to you?

Finally, they look at the choices facing athletes. How to say no, how to report suspicious activity, and how to pull yourself from the idea that ‘everyone is doing it’.

The first four focus exclusively on the story of Joerg Jaksche, a seven time Tour de France cyclist who, in 2007, admitted to years of doping.  

In the videos, Joerg explains why he fell in love with cycling, the pressure he felt once he became a professional cyclist, and what ultimately led him to his decision to dope. Importantly, he also shares messages for athletes who might be feeling pressure to take performance enhancing substances.

Joerg highlights the need for athletes to understand that there is life beyond sport, to have a supportive network who care about your interests and your health, and to have the confidence to speak up.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is your life. And your life after sport is very young”

The videos were developed in conjunction with Crossing the Line, an athlete-run organisation that works with athletes to support their mental health, wellbeing, and their transition once they retire from life as an athlete.

Notably, the videos were released to coincide with their annual symposium, which focussed on athlete welfare.

All 28 videos run for approximately one minute, and are available on ASADA’s YouTube channel.