Cheating in sports is nothing new, but the cheaters themselves are getting younger and younger. The past two decades have shown us a very nasty and low-character side of sports. Dozens of top athletes, many of whom were role models to millions of people, have been caught cheating in one way or another. Add this to the various business scandals that the world has seen, and you have the ingredients for a generation of uber-connected young people willing to do anything to succeed. They want to win and be noticed, even if that means jeopardizing the integrity of competition.
Recently, the cycling world was stunned when a 19-year-old competitor was caught using a mechanical engine attached to her bike during a race. This marked the first mainstream instance of “mechanical doping.” The rapidly growing eSports scene isn’t immune to the cheating epidemic either. The ESL announced a new governing body at the beginning of May to combat cheating and game fixing in eSports. The new body, named the World Esports Association, was patterned after other governing bodies, like the ones used in Olympic competition, to help further legitimize the sport through regulation.
This spring, the Olympic committee ordered re-tests of the athlete’s 2012 testing samples and found that 23 athletes were cheating by using performance-enhancing drugs. Even the most elite of elite athletes are putting integrity aside for a chance to better their performances. What’s most surprising of all, it isn’t just the losers who are cheating in sports. A study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that winners are more likely to cheat in order to remain on top. With cheating becoming more popular among younger athletes, it is likely the trend of unethical behavior in sports isn’t ending anytime soon.