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In the Tour de France of 1998, for the first time ever, political forces intervened to lay bare the comprehensive doping practices of popular athletes, which had been covered up by the sports officials as well as by journalists who might have exposed them. As these dramatic raids made it clear that doping practices pervaded professional cycling and as such put an end to the myth that doping can simply be attributed to the moral defects of corrupt individuals, suspicions grew that cycling was probably not the only major sport in which doping was for many athletes a way of life.
This great Tour de France scandal of 1998 made possible a genuine campaign against doping led by governments and sports officials. In 1999 this resulted in the creation of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by which the way was paved for a partnership between an independent international body and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This arrangement has produced some notable successes in the drug testing of elite athletes over the past several years wherefore many observers may well believe that there is today an effective global anti-doping consensus and that doping is gradually being eliminated from major Olympic sports.
The essays appearing for the first time in this volume, however, show that athletes who dope and those that pursue them are trapped in a fateful conflict that is far more complicated than the familiar story line suggests. The detect-and-punish strategy currently being refined by WADA does not address some of the major dimensions of the doping phenomenon: the rights and requirements of the athlete-worker, the gradual legalisation of “soft” doping techniques, nationalistic resistance to doping control, the perils of corporate sponsorship, the expanding black market for doping drugs, the public’s tacit acceptance of doped athletes, and the cherished illusion that the Olympic motto citius, altius, fortius is compatible with the requirements of a drug-free sport in the 21´th century.
Doping and Public Policy argues that the current strategy of condemnation and surveillance is not enough, and that it is time to rethink anti-doping policy in the global context where it belongs.
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