International Olympic Committee accredited laboratories play a key role in upholding the principle of fair play and innate ability, as desired by the majority of sports competitors and spectators. Not only does doping damage the image of sport, but it can also be harmful to the individual. The great majority of samples test negative but, when an adverse finding is declared, the analytical data must be of a sufficiently high standard to withstand legal challenges by third parties. The most widely misused performance-enhancing drugs are the anabolic-androgenic steroids, commonly referred to as 'anabolic steroids'. This review attempts to address the complex issues concerning anabolic steroids in sport by considering the clinical, biochemical and analytical perspectives.