- Should we offer amnesty to convicted dopers?
- Should doping be legalized?
- Why does Lance Armstrong provoke such particular ire?
Dr McGowan emailed me a few weeks ago to request this piece, and given my own time constraints, and my desire to hear views from outside, this seemed an excellent opportunity to host our first "guest post" on the site. It's something I hope to do much more often in the future, provided articles contribute value and fall within the scope of the site. As some of you may know, I spent two years working in sports sponsorship and business, and the big-picture, strategic thinking where commercial interests intersect with sports performance and science is a particular interest. So the last week has been enthralling, if only to see how reactions have swung, and why.
Dr McGowan's piece, unedited, touches on some of the themes, including the legalization of doping argument, and how to police sport better in the future.
Lance Armstrong: It's not about the doping (Dr John McGowan)
As the time approaches for cycling chiefs to decide if they accept the recent rulings of the US Anti-Doping Agency, I’ve been wondering what to think about Lance Armstrong. Clearly many feel the evidence of rule-breaking, cover-up and intimidation is so overwhelming it’s high time he got his comeuppance. Despite everything though, he still has his partisans. Interestingly however, even some of them don’t care if he was doper. As commentator Gary Imlach commented,“an argument about Lance Armstrong is almost a faith-based matter”.
“Grant immunity for all athletes pre-2008... Immunity will enable retired athletes to work with governing bodies and anti-doping agencies for improving the... system.”
- the idea that anti-doping measures will ever have a significant impact,
- the view that competition enhanced by pharmacology is not desirable, and
- the principle that curbing doping means fairer and safer sport.
Department of Applied Psychology
Canterbury Christ Church University