The use of performance-enhancing drugs has been one of the biggest issues in sport in recent years. It seems that no sport is immune to some scandal, whether it’s cycling, athletics, or, rather more surprisingly, horse racing. Hot on the heels of the recent situation with cyclist Lance Armstrong, legendary jockey Frankie Dettori has recently been suspended for six months after failing a drugs test following a race meeting in France. This story came as a huge surprise to everyone in the sport.
Dettori’s failed drugs test came after a race in Longchamps, which has resulted in the diminutive Italian being banned until May 2013. The multiple-race winner has taken his punishment with good grace, although it does highlight the issue of drugs in sport even further. His reputation will suffer as a result of the ruling, and the fact that Dettori was 14/1 with Ladbrokes to win the jockey of the year award will surely be forgotten in a flash.
A lot of people will wonder why a small number of athletes will turn to sport in order to boost their performance when it matters. There are a number of reasons why it happens. In many cases, it’s an act of desperation if preparations for a big game, race or tournament aren’t going quite right, while some will look to drugs to improve their strength, stamina or energy levels. Doing whatever it takes to win is something a handful of sportspeople may take too far.
As far as Dettori’s career is concerned, as he’s been racing for nearly two decades, it’s going to be hard for him to mount a comeback, especially when there are so many young riders coming through. However, he’s had a number of setbacks throughout his career and come through them, but this is the biggest one for some time, and age may count against him.