It was hard for me to watch the Lance Armstrong interview last night with Oprah. There he was, the man for so long I recognized as this top sports superstar who overcame cancer and did the impossible, winning and winning and winning -- a fraud. Last night, Lance admitted to the world that he used banned substances and doped throughout his entire career, a step in the right direction in his effort to right the abundant mistakes and apologize to those he's hurt along his way.
It was ... unreal. What's even more unreal, though, is the lengthy list of substances Lance abused. From the banned energy boosting substance EPO and testosterone to HGH, cortisone and blood-doping practices and transfusions -- it seems like nothing was off limits.
Want to know what all of these things do? So did I. Let's take a closer look at the drugs Lance Armstrong has confessed to abusing, here:
First things first, let's talk about what blood doping is in the first place. Essentially, an athlete who blood dopes is trying to better their performance by increasing their red blood cell count. Why would they want to do that? Well, more red blood cells mean more ways for oxygen to get carried to the muscles, in other words, less fatigue. So how did lance do this? With the help of a little gem called Erythropoietin.
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a natural hormone produced by the kidneys that ups red blood cell production. However, it can also be manufactured and then injected into the blood stream -- which is what Lance did. What scary about EPO, though, is that it can thicken the blood and slow the heart down. Hmmm, slowing the heart down on PURPOSE while performing a high-endurance sport? Sounds ... dangerous.
As for the other drugs he used? Well the testosterone injections, aid in improving muscle mass and bone density. HGH is predominately responsible for increasing body muscle and lowering body fat. The cortisone? Helps relieve pain and enables any athlete to perform for longer.
It's amazing to me HOW many different substances were in Lance Armstrong's doping regimen. However, what is even more amazing to me is how long the lie went on for.
What do you think now that Lance has confessed to doping? Do you know anyone who uses performance enhancing drugs?
Image via Pacific Coast News