Doping scandals have rocked the sports world in recent years, from Major League Baseball to the Olympics to the Tour de France. The latest doping controversy has tainted the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which bills itself as the “Last Great Race on Earth.” In October 2017, officials overseeing the 1,000-mile (1,609-km) race through Alaska’s wilderness announced that four of the dogs on four-time champion musher Dallas Seavey’s team had tested positive for Tramadol, a banned opioid pain reliever.
Dogged by controversy:
- Dallas Seavey, now 30, became the youngest Iditarod champion when he was 25, winning the race in 2012. He also won the race in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In 2017, he placed second, behind his father, Mitch Seavey, who became the oldest Iditarod winner at age 57.
- After the shocking revelation, Dallas Seavey withdrew from the upcoming 2018 Iditarod in protest. He maintains that the drugs must have been given to his dogs maliciously.
- Many animal rights activists object to the Iditarod, claiming that the dogs are run to exhaustion and experience paw infections and fractures. Five sled dogs died during the 2017 race, or soon after.