A few weeks ago, Christrophe Brissonneau sent me his new book, via Linked in. A thoughtful letter to me showed that Christophe was a) serious and b) knew how to get attention from an editor (moi) who gets 1100 emails a day off 8 sites. While 350 are, on the average, from a) the King of Central African kingdom who is offering me $15 mllion for a loan of $7500, b) a chance to see pornography that I have not thought of yet, c) loans for up to $2 million with no collateral and d) how President Trump has either saved the US or put us on the path to total destruction.
I have digressed.
This book, Doping in Elite sports, has looked like something I would like to read. I came from an era when I could chat with former Soviet bloc coaches, and have translated East German coaching books. I learned that some cheated, some did not. I learned that it was much more complicated than just people cheated and how most federations looked away from the cheating in the 60s and 70s. Now, much has come to bite us on the proverbial backside.
Mike Rowbottom beat me to it. Today, May 9, he posted his deep thoughts on Inside the Games site. It is a wonderful piece.
I love Mike Rowbottom. Mike does not have to worry. I will not visit his house and peer in his windows. Like about a dozen other scribes, Mike writes about things that challenge me and with a love of journalism that is found less and less today. I am glad my friends at Inside the Games use him often. His crisp writing, his sense of humor, and his access to reality are found in neary every word he writes.
Read this, and you might want to check out the book. Sometimes, complicated topics can not be understood in 20 twitter blasts. rr
Thanks Mike, and hope to see you soon.
When dopers tell the truth about cheating – if that’s what it is
A paradox: being honest about cheating.
The recently published book by Christophe Brissonneau and Jeffrey Montez de Oca – Doping in Elite Sports – Voices of French sportspeople and Their Doctors, 1950-2010 – is, as you might surmise from its catchy title, an academic work.
Based on interviews with “55 former dopers”, this collaboration by interviewer Brissonneau, of the University of Paris V Descartes, and editor De Orca, of the University of Colorado, focuses on two main areas.
The first part details how the concept of “doping” has been defined and constructed over the years by sports doctors; the second looks at doping from the perspective of elite athletes and “explains how the use of pharmacology became a normal part of training in elite French sports.”
The last is a simple but devastating conclusion.
The introduction to this work tells the tale in its headline – “When the extraordinary is normal, deviance is good”.
The authors use a graphically vivid method of illustrating that idea, citing an interview with “Pascal”, an elite road cyclist. Pascal tells the story of how, one day, he woke up paralysed and was only discovered the next day by his father, who took him into hospital.
Pascal explains to Brissonneau, amid much mirth, that he had injected himself with a drug he had got from a friend, and it turned out that the drug was meant for snakes.
Hey – sometimes the doping thing can go wrong. But no lasting harm done.(Maybe.) So on we go…
Brissonneau apparently found many of his interlocutors quite relaxed about discussing their doping experiences – but only when he had divested himself of what was deemed by early subjects to be a judgemental, “insider”-type stance. Questions were framed neutrally, anonymity, where requested, was honoured; trust established; and truth, it would certainly appear, illuminated.
To read this fantastic piece, please click on: https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1078963/mike-rowbottom-when-cheaters-tell-the-truth-about-cheating-if-thats-what-is-is
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