Center for Critical Sport Studies

John Hoberman: The End of Sport? Why the Doping Epidemic Must Be Brought Under Control

The concept of “doping” dates from the 1920s and has evolved with the development of new drugs and technologies. Definitions of doping employ basic dichotomies: “natural” versus “artificial,” “nutrient” versus “stimulant,” and “therapy” versus “enhancement.” Sir Arthur Porritt, chairman of the British Association of Sports Medicine, summed up the problem in 1965: “To define doping is, if not impossible, at best extremely difficult, and yet everyone who takes part in competitive sport or who administers it knows exactly what it means. The definition lies not in words but in integrity of character.” “Doping” has less to do with biochemistry than with a special kind of social contract that has been torn apart by the consequences of the Olympic ideal of citius, altius, fortius.

This talk is part of the Ethics in Sport Speaker Series that explores ethical issues and their implications in the world of sport. All of our talks are free and open to the public.

End of Sport