Doping in Elite Sports

Doping in Elite Sports. Voices of French Sportspeople and Their Doctors, 1950-2010

Christophe Brissonneau, Jeffrey Montez de Oca, Routledge, 2018


Drawing on rich empirical material from elite French sport, this book offers a detailed history of how the concept of doping evolved from the twentieth to the twenty-first century. The first study to span the period from 1950 to 2010, it sheds new light on the extraordinary world of elite sport in France – a world governed by its own moral standards and defined by extreme expectations of physical performance and highly medicalised training regimes.

Including exclusive insights from athletes and their doctors, it explains how the use of drugs became an integral part of training in elite French sport. Considering the complex and paradoxical moral arguments that frame this phenomenon, it explores the decades-long social and political process that resulted in the normalisation of this doping culture. Drawing on examples from cycling, athletics, weightlifting, wrestling and bodybuilding, this book compares doping practices in these sports and questions the effectiveness of anti-doping policies.

This is fascinating reading for all those interested in the use of drugs in sports, the ethics and philosophy of sport, or sports history.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: When the Extraordinary Is Normal, Deviance Is Good

2. Sports Medicine and Creating the Definition of Doping

3. The Structural Ambivalence of Sports Medicine

4. Rationalism, Training and Medicine in Cycling, 1990-2000

5. Training Models and Pharmacology in Athletics, 1960-2000

6. Pharmacological Careers in Wrestling and Weightlifting, 1980s

7. Bodybuilding and The Freedom to Choose

8. New Anti-Doping Policies: New Careers in Cycling, 2003-2010

9. Conclusion

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