NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use
initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your
Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the
issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com]
for possible publication.
Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions
and/or their editorial.
Story: New Designer
Steroid Detected Among Top Athletes, 11/05/03
1. What are steroids?
2. Why are athletes discouraged from using steroids?
3. Do you know of any athletes who have been in trouble for using steroids?
Questions: (click here
1. What top athletes
have been called as witnesses in the Grand Jury inquiry into the new steroid
A grand jury
investigating the company accused of manufacturing the drug has heard
from stars like sprinter Marion Jones and baseball players Jason Giambi
and Barry Bonds, who were subpoenaed to testify as witnesses.
2. Why are steroids
banned by some sports organizations?
illegal performance-enhancing drugs, are banned by most athletic organizations
because they provide athletes who use them an unfair physical advantage,
the discovery could put a stain on the careers of some of the sport
world's top athletes, including lifetime bans from competition and dismissal
from future Olympic Games.
3. How did authorities
find out about the new steroid, THG?
In June a vial
of clear liquid was sent anonymously to the Olympic drug testing laboratory
at the University of California at Los Angeles by an athletic coach
who suggested testing the liquid for an undetectable steroid.
of tests, the lab discovered the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG,
in the liquid. According to UCLA chemists, the drug had been specifically
designed to go undetected. The chemists then developed a test for the
drug and worked with Anti-Doping officials to begin testing past urine
samples of various athletes. According to officials, "several"
athletes have tested positive.
4. Which athletes
have been in trouble for taking steroids in the past?
In 1998, at the
height of his bid for the homerun record, baseball star Mark McGwire
admitted to using the muscle-enhancing steroid Androstenedione, a drug
banned by the NFL and the Olympics but not by major league baseball.
In 1988, Olympic officials stripped Canadian runner Ben Johnson of his
gold medal and world record at the games in Seoul, Korea, after he tested
positive for steroids. Johnson was banned from competition for life.
5. What steps are
professional sports organizations taking following the discovery of the
discovery of THG, several athletic organizations have taken steps to
discourage their athletes from taking the drug. The International Olympic
Committee added THG to their list of banned substances and warned that
they will test for the drug at the 2004 Athens Games; USA Track &
Field officials have proposed a plan that would place a lifetime ban
and a fine of up to $100,000 on any athlete who tests positive for steroids;
and International Ski Federation officials and Rugby World Cup officials
have said they will test competitors in the coming season, according
to the Associated Press.
(more research might be needed):
1. Do students in this school or this area use steroids?
2. Do you think this story will make student athletes more or less likely
to try to obtain steroids?
3. Research the restrictions regarding the use of steroids at your high
school? What are they? Are they similar to professional sports? If so
in what ways?
4. What punishment should athletes face for taking steroids? Is a lifetime
ban from competing in their sport too severe, or does the punishment fit
5. What are some of the legal uses for steroids? For instance what medical
conditions sometimes require the use of steroids?
Write a 300-500 word
essay on any of these topics providing clear examples. Send your completed
editorial to NewsHour Extra [firstname.lastname@example.org].
Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.