1. Lance Armstrong
(CNN) -- Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Thursday night.
Did he use EPO? Testosterone? Cortisone? Human growth hormone? Illegal blood transfusions and other blood doping? Armstrong answered "yes" on all counts.
In October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released more than 1000 pages of evidence in doping allegations against Armstrong and his teammates. He was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in the scandal. On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee demanded that he give back the bronze medal he won in 2000. The charges against Armstrong are all too common in the cycling world. Cyclist Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test. Eighty percent of the Tour de France medalists between 1996 and 2010 have been "similarly tainted by doping," according to the USADA report on Armstrong.
A look at the drugs Armstrong used:
Lance Armstrong admits doping
McKinnon: Armstrong doping 'devastating'
Armstrong could face more legal trouble
Lance Armstrong plays Oprah card
EPO, or erythropoietin, is a hormone naturally produced by human kidneys to stimulate red blood cell production,according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Cyclists and other athletes use EPO to raise their red blood cell counts, which increases the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to muscles, improving recovery and endurance. Although EPO has been banned since the 1990s, the first screening test was used at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.
Blood transfusions have a similar effect on the body's red blood cell count. Usually an athlete will store some of his blood when his hemoglobin levels are high, then reinfuse it right before an event. This type of transfusion cannot be detected by current tests, according to the USADA. Both methods can have dangerous side effects. Increased levels of hemoglobin, which literally thickens the blood, can lead to complications with circulation, putting athletes at risk for cardiovascular problems.
Corticosteroids are man-made drugs that resemble the natural hormone cortisol. These are different from anabolic steroids, which athletes take to increase strength. The most common types are cortisone, prednisone and methylprednisolone.
Cortisol is most commonly known as a stress hormone. Corticosteroids work to decrease inflammation that can cause swelling and pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic. They can be administered locally -- to the specific area that hurts -- or systemically through a pill or intravenously.
The list of possible side effects for corticosteroids is long, including weight gain, sudden mood swings, blurred vision, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
"If steroid use involves high doses and is prolonged (for a few months to several years), an increase in the number of side effects might occur," the clinic's site states.
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength, red blood cell production and sex drive. It is found in both men and women; in men, it also helps to regulate sperm production.
Athletes generally abuse testosterone to "bulk up," according to the USADA. The side effects are similar to both blood doping and anabolic steroid use. Testosterone increases the body's red blood cell count, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Mood swings, muscle weakness and liver dysfunction are also common for both sexes with overuse.
Using testosterone also shuts down the body's natural production of the hormone. This can cause the testicles to shrink in men, reducing sperm production.
Cyclists say Armstrong's confession and calls to clean up the sport may lead to a new era.
"From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling's history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement in October.
"Our mission is to protect clean athletes by preserving the integrity of competition not only for today's athletes but also the athletes of tomorrow. We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair dilemma -- dope, or don't compete at the highest levels of the sport. Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic choice no athlete should have to make."
2. Marion Jones
Track star Marion Jones has acknowledged using steroids as she prepared for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and is scheduled to plead guilty today in New York to two counts of lying to federal agents about her drug use and an unrelated financial matter, according to a letter Jones sent to close family and friends.
Jones, who won five medals at the Sydney Olympics, said she took the steroid known as "the clear" for two years beginning in 1999, according to the letter. A source familiar with Jones's legal situation who requested anonymity confirmed the relevant facts that were described in the letter.
"I want to apologize to you all for all of this," Jones said. "I am sorry for disappointing you all in so many ways."
Jones's admissions could cost her the three gold and two bronze medals she won in Sydney while enlarging the cloud of doubt hovering over Olympic and professional sports, which have been tarred in recent years with accusations of performance-enhancing drug use, steroids busts and positive drug tests by prominent athletes.
In December 2004, the International Olympic Committee opened an investigation into allegations surrounding steroid use by Jones, once considered the greatest female athlete in the world. In the past, Jones has vehemently denied using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs.
"This is a shame," World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman Dick Pound said in a telephone interview yesterday. "This was America's darling at the 2000 Summer Olympics. . . . I hope this will have a deterrent effect. It's not merely cheating in sports, but now she has lied her way to exposure to penal sanctions."
In the letter, Jones, who will turn 32 next Friday, said her former coach, Trevor Graham, gave her the substance, telling her it was the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and that she should take it by putting two drops under her tongue. Graham, contacted by telephone yesterday, declined to comment.
Jones said she "trusted [Graham] and never thought for one second" she was using a performance-enhancing drug until after she left Graham's Raleigh, N.C.-based training camp at the end of 2002. "Red flags should have been raised in my head when he told me not to tell anyone about" the supplement program, she said. She also said she noticed changes in how her body felt and how she was able to recover from workouts after she stopped taking the substance in 2001.
The clear, also known as THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone, is a powerful anabolic steroid that was at the center of the federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, or Balco. More than a dozen track and field athletes have faced punishments for their use of the clear, which drug-testing authorities were unable to detect until Graham sent a sample of it to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2003.
Baseball players Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi admitted during grand jury testimony to using the clear, according to reports in the San Francisco Chronicle. Outfielder Barry Bonds also admitted using a substance that he said he had been told was flaxseed oil by his personal trainer, the Chronicle reported.
The federal probe surrounding Balco, a nutritional supplements company based in Burlingame, Calif., has resulted in five criminal convictions. Jones, however, would be the first athlete, joining Balco founder Victor Conte Jr. and vice president James Valente; Bonds's personal trainer, Greg Anderson; track coach Remi Korchemny; and chemist Patrick Arnold, who designed the clear.
Jones's coach, Graham, was indicted last November on three counts of lying to federal agents connected to the investigation. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled for November.
3. Barry Bonds
Home run king Barry Bonds was convicted Wednesday of obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury about using steroids and human growth hormone.
Bonds, 46, displayed no emotion as the San Francisco jury delivered the verdict after almost four days of deliberations. The panel was unable to reach a decision on three other charges.
Bonds long has faced speculation he used steroids – the owner of Bonds’s record-setting 756th home-run ball marked it with an asterisk – but Wednesday marked the first time Bonds was convicted of a crime in association with the scandal.
Federal sentencing guidelines recommend 15 to 21 months in prison, but Bonds may serve his time in home confinement.
The case involved Bonds’s statements to a 2003 grand jury investigating whether he and other pro athletes received illegal performance-enhancing drugs from a Bay Area lab, and whether his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, injected him.
Prosecutors alleged Bonds tested positive for a steroid and a fertility drug in a urine sample months before his grand jury evidence. They also gave the jury a recording of Anderson saying how he injected steroids in response to a question about Bonds.
Bonds, the son of major leaguer Bobby Bonds, started his career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and ended in 2007 with the San Francisco Giants.
He has seven Most Valuable Player awards and holds many records, including 762 career home runs and the most runs in a season – 73 in 2001.
For a complete list of Top 10 Athletes Caught Using PEDs, visit:http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ycn-8859875