Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, UK
A main focus in my research is to explore how elite athletes of different gender, ages and sports approach legal and illegal Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Methods (PEDM) and to identify how anti-doping policy is perceived by elite athletes. My focus has been i) to explore the lives of elite athletes, e.g. their motivation and fascination for elite sport and their type of commitment, how they experience pressure to perform and the pressures on their bodies, how they relate to legal performance-enhancing strategies and the influence of their sporting networks, e.g. training peers, coach, medical staff, family; ii) to investigate which factors may have an impact on an athlete’s decision to dope or not and relate this to current anti-doping policy, as well as clarifying grey zones, potential dilemmas and risk factors among elite athletes; and iii) to identify the impact of key elements of current anti-doping policy on their everyday lives – elements such as the whereabouts-reporting system, the TUE system, the prohibited list of substances, doping controls and sanctions. Issues related to these elements are, for example, to identify how elite athletes respond to policy – athletes’ (daily) experiences, attitudes and trust – and whether the policy has a preventative function. Here, I also explore whether (or to what extent) the current fight against doping has unexpected consequences for elite athletes.