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Should the Olympics allow doping?

PBS Digital Studios’s BrainCraft thinks the ban on doping should be relaxed.


Rae Votta


With the Rio Olympics upon us, PBS Digital Studios wonders if the ban on doping should be relaxed in its latest BrainCraft video. 

Doping, or the practice of using drugs or other techniques to improve sport performance, has led to the disgrace of international athletes like Lance Armstrong, but BrainCraft host Vanessa Hill points out that the complexities of doping practices and detection makes getting caught a rarity. 

The clip points out that only a small percentage of athletes who are doping are actually caught, because biological testing doesn’t detect all substances. Both the breadth of doping substances available and the interaction of various doping agents can make detection improbable and often impossible.

Psychologically, the video points out that when less people are caught, more people are encouraged to use methods to cheat. Additionally, certain methods that enhance performance are actually allowed, like caffeine usage. This is because they are deemed “natural.”

To combat the nature bias and address the problems of doping, which is decreased health and safety, Hill posits that instead the Olympics allow the practice. Tests would then focus on levels for safety and health, without judging how results are achieved. 

“The doping problem is not going away,” she says. “Instead of trying to eliminate doping, should we meet in the middle?”

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