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Performance-Enhancing Technologies in Sports

Edited by Thomas H. Murray, Karen J. Maschke, and Angela A. Wasunna
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)

This book brings together an interdisciplinary group of experts in bioethics, sports, law, and philosophy to examine the need for regulating such athletic performance-enhancing technologies as steroids and gene doping.

The use of performance–improving drugs in sports dates back to the early Olympians, who took an herbal tonic before competitions to augment athletic prowess. But the permissibility of doing so came into question only in the twentieth century as the popularity of anabolic steroid use and blood doping among athletes grew. Sports officials and others—aided by the development of technologies to test participants for proscribed substances—became concerned over the physical safety of athletes and competitive fairness in sporting events.

In exploring the culture, ethics, and policy issues surrounding doping in competitive athletics, the contributors to this volume detail the history and current state of drug use in sports, analyze the distinctions between acceptable and unacceptable usages, evaluate the ethical arguments for and against permitting athletes to avail themselves of new means of improving athleticism, and discuss possible future doping technologies and the issues that they are likely to raise. They explain how and why some athletes resort to doping and assess what the fair opportunity principle means in theory and practice and how it relates to the concept of an equal opportunity to perform.

This frank discussion of doping in sports includes accounts by former elite athletes and offers an illuminating exchange over the meaning and value of natural talents and genetic hierarchies and the essence of fair competition.

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