In certain sports, most noticeably bicycle racing, random drug tests have been business as usual for the past decade. In recent years, however, the outcry to test athletes of all levels, in virtually all sports, has begun to grow louder and louder.
NASCAR has had some highly-public positive drug tests in recent years, beginning with Jeremy Mayfield
in 2009. Mayfield, who’d racked up five wins and nine poles in his Sprint Cup career, received an indefinite suspension from the sport after testing positive for methamphetamine use on two occasions.
Last year, popular Penske driver A.J. Almendinger was also suspended for breaching the series’ drug policy
, though the former IndyCar star is now well on his way to resurrecting his driving career following the completion of a mandatory treatment program
Even Formula One stars aren’t immune from random drug tests. As Fox Sports Australia
reports, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo all received recent early-morning wake up calls from testers with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The tests come after Red Bull Renault driver Mark Weber requested that the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, increase its drug-testing efforts following former MotoGP rider Anthony West’s positive test for a prohibited stimulant. The motorcycle racer received a month-long ban after his positive test.
As Webber explains, “I’ve always been championing the idea to do more of it, but the FIA have never really been that strong on it.”
The same can be said for the other drivers in the Formula One series, who have traditionally been hesitant to embrace the invasion of privacy that comes along with random drug testing.
For those that make a living at the highest level of a sport, however, privacy may soon be a luxury that can only be enjoyed in retirement.