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August 3, 2021 43 min

Who can forget these memorable moments in sports when reigning world champions lost their titles, medals, and invitations to compete as punishment for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. But while most sports experts agree these high-profile scandals represent just the tip of the iceberg, some say the time has come to accept that doping is part and parcel of the spectacle of elite sport. They argue that the days where athletes won medals based on natural genetic advantage and dedicated training are long gone and that the World Anti Doping Administration’s push for clean athletes is wishful fantasy. The future of sport is one where athletes will push their physiological boundaries with the help of steroids, hormones, and yes even gene editing, embracing the high-tech innovation that is revolutionizing every other aspect of our lives. Anti-doping crusaders respond that a sporting world that allows unrestricted access to performance enhancement drugs is one that threatens athletes’ lives and also spells the end of sport as we have played and watched it for thousands of years. They argue that the most powerful reason to ban doping is that it undermines the skill development and overcoming of physical and mental obstacles that lies at the heart of fair play. Substances that provide immediate athletic advantages without any work or struggle represents the beginning of a joyless and pointless brave new world in sports.

Arguing for the motion is Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, where he directs the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.

Arguing against the motion is Angela Schneider, Director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies, an Associate Professor in Kinisiology at the University of Western Ontario, and an Olympic silver medallist in rowing.

Sources: BBC Sport, ABC News, Huff Post, CNBC, TNW, Calgary Herald, NBC, Channel 4, City News

The host of the Munk Debates is Rudyard Griffiths - @rudyardg.  

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