THE CLEVER MESSAGE ABOUT PEDS IN ASTERIX AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
- October 18, 2018
For years, the debate about performance-enhancing drugs in the sports industry has raged on like an aggressive stampede. However, regardless of the stories that result in media firestorms, the truth of the matter is that many athletes do to take the “easier path” towards achieving physical perfection. Nevertheless, the consequences are far from delightful. Long-term use of steroids and other PEDs can result in severe fevers, decreased muscle mass, hormone fluctuations, and (in the worst case scenario) cancer. So how would you feel if you knew a renowned French cartoonist tackled this subject in a comic book series that (for the most part) is directed towards younger readers? Let’s take a closer look at how Asterix at the Olympic Games teaches a clever lesson about PEDs to children and adults.
When in Rome
First published in Pilote no. 434 on February 15, 1968, Asterix at the Olympic Games (Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques) is the 12th edition in the Adventures of Asterix series by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Clever and upbeat, the story details the further adventures of the diminutive Asterix and his friend Obelix as they make their way to the historic Olympic Games in Rome. On their way, the pair runs into an impressive athlete who has been chosen to represent Rome. In a humorous twist, Asterix and Obelix outdo the Olympian at every trial game thanks to a magical potion that gives them enhanced speed, strength, and endurance.
Eventually, the Asterix and his friend decide to enter the games and plenty of comedy ensues, all underneath the umbrella of a poignant message.
Blue Tongues and Endless Guilt
After entering the game, Asterix and Obelix achieve victory after victory, but, eventually, the spiteful Romans steal the potion to enhance their strength. After consuming excessive amounts of the substance, the Romans easily win, but their victory comes at a price: permanent blue tongues (the result of a secret ingredient added by a druid to trap the Romans). Ultimately, the cheaters are disqualified.
Being an innocent work written for kids and adults, Asterix at the Olympic Games does not dive into darker details about drug abuse. However, like Thank You for Smoking, it does deliver a very unique, insightful message about addictive substances in the world of sports. The Roman represent athletes who hunger for success and who are willing to risk their reputations to enhance their strength. Ultimately, they lose because of the potion (a drug) and have to endure nasty side effects.
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