The comforting blanket of naivety coddling New Zealand sports fans has been swiftly ripped away and the cold chill of drug cheating has got the country bolted upright.

An investigation into illegal steroids has uncovered alleged widespread cheating in New Zealand sport, with up to 80 athletes allegedly caught up in a doping investigation.

The scope and results of the investigation are unprecedented and have the ability to tarnish the country's reputation as a "clean" sporting nation.

The most chilling part of this revelation is that, while no Olympic or All Black stars were involved, school-age athletes are among those caught in the sting.


This can be seen as an indictment on New Zealand's sporting culture and the "at all costs" chase for the glory of the Eden Park floodlights.

The dream of pulling on the All Black jersey - or any other national apparel - is drummed into children essentially from birth. While there's nothing wrong with the goal, how it is attained needs to be remedied.

The emphasis on sports at high school is continuously increasing. Academies, age-group representative sides and scholarships are commonplace.

The drive for not only success but financial security and riches is increasingly abundant in the professional era.

But what is really to blame for this dark underbelly to one of the most unifying parts of life?

Is it the schools? The quest for sporting excellence is signified by the emphasis academic institutions put on scoring more points than another.

Scholarships are thrown about with gusto. Students transfer schools after offers of a better side and a higher chance of being tapped for higher honours.

Are they the ones coercing students into performance enhancers? Possibly.

Maybe it's the parents. There are plenty of cases of over-parenting. Ones that allow the tripping up a seven-year-old in a wheelbarrow race, all for a ribbon that will be immediately banished to a dusty cardboard box in the attic.

Sporting excellence is driven into them more ruthlessly than the pursuit of education or being a humble kid.

The expectations of parental figures may have pushed them towards buying the drugs online.

It could potentially just be some young athletes who can't see a pathway to the top without a little help.

The drive to excel has felled many an athlete. There's absolutely no reason why some students could fall into that trap.

It's hard to know which, or any, of these things are the reason.

Drug cheating is simultaneously a scourge and a product of society. In the sports world, only winners seem to matter. Nobody remembers who came second, right?

New Zealand may have felt impervious to it over recent years with no high profile athletes being done for performance enhancement but these revelations have shown it's prevalent in our own backyards.

Nothing will change, despite this public outing. Athletes will continue to take shortcuts and there will be no real repercussions, whether it be financially, reputationally or career-wise.

Lance Armstrong still rakes in money despite being the highest profile drug cheat of all time. Justin Gatlin is not only accepted, but revered in athletics despite twice being found gaining an unfair advantage.

Until that narrative changes, there's no real reason for athletes to not take it. What's two years of rest to a 15-year career of enhanced performance?

This bust could end up being one of many but don't expect it to make any change to a cheater's mentality.