Until 2004, caffeine was on the prohibited substances list. Athletes were limited to a urine level below 12 micrograms per millilitre, equivalent to 6-8 cups of coffee. Performance enhancing effects have since been proven at a lower intake, between 2-4 cups of coffee.
WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is monitoring athletes usage of caffeine as it seems that since it was removed from the prohibited list, its use has greatly increased. WADA could reinstate the ban by limiting permitted intake levels or ban it entirely. A total ban could be difficult as it stays in the system up to 48 hours, making random testing challenging. Athletes may get a little grumpy if they can’t have a coffee or energy drink up to two days before a competition.
30-120 minutes of caffeine intake could be a benefit to athletes as it offers improved muscle contractability, increased time to exhaustion, reduced fatigue, improved concentration and enhanced alertness.
Let’s hope that Olympians like Elana Meyers Taylor (a US bobsledder) and Jackie Wiles (an alpine skier), who take their coffee bulletproof style— with butter and coconut oil, don’t have to give it up for future games.