In 2016, Russian hackers accessed and disclosed information regarding Simone Biles’ use of methylphenidate, a prescription drug used to treat ADHD. Simone was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and has been taking medication for it ever since. Methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin is a banned drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The hackers released the information in an attempt to discredit Bile’s athletic abilities and accuse her for doping.
Simone Biles responded to the leak of information saying that she believed in clean sport and that fair play was very important to her. Because she had ADHD, she was cleared by WADA to take Ritalin despite it being a banned drug. Biles spoke up about having ADHD and fans applauded her for using this as an opportunity to reduce the stigma around ADHD.
This is sociologically relevant as it is interesting to examine what is considered deviant versus what is not considered deviant. In Simone Biles’ case, taking Ritalin was not considered deviant because she was diagnosed with ADHD. If an athlete without ADHD was caught taking Ritalin, they would be accused of doping, a deviant behaviour. Research has been conducted into the attitudes of young athletes on doping and found that athletes saw doping as shameful, among other things. This has implications on the Simone Biles’ case, because people were trying to shame her for taking Ritalin and accused her for doping, when really it was a prescription medication.
Written by Amanda Gormley