drugstore clerk antibiotics Li Zongxian/ZumaPress

The Future of the Anti-Doping Fight

The exposure of Russia’s far-reaching state-sponsored doping program has brought the practice to the forefront of public consciousness. We should take this as an opportunity to redouble our efforts to end this deeply unhealthy behavior – and save elite sports.

SOLNA, SWEDEN – Elite sports and doping have long been deeply interlinked. But the damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Russia’s far-reaching state-sponsored doping program, released shortly before this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, brought it to the forefront of public consciousness. We should take this as an opportunity to redouble our efforts to end this deeply unhealthy practice – and save elite sports.

Reaching an elite level in sports requires a tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and focus. By definition, few succeed, but those who do may enjoy great personal and financial rewards. Using performance-enhancing substances can seem like an easy way to boost one’s chances of reaching – or remaining at – that top level.

Doping in sports has most likely been going on for centuries. But the successful isolation of androgenic anabolic steroids brought a surge in the practice in the 1930s. The effects on performance can be seen in the extraordinary results of East German athletes in the 1970s and 1980s, some of whose records have yet to be broken. But the drawbacks of anabolic steroids were no less obvious: those same athletes often experienced infertility, cardiovascular problems, tumors, and other adverse effects.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in

  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now