By John Gleaves and Ask Vest Christiansen
Our 2015 INHDR Conference draws rapidly near. On August 27-28, the INHDR will return once again to the ultramodern facilities at Aarhus University’s Sport Science building for the 8th biannual conference for the INHDR. For those of you attending, we believe that the forthcoming conference promises a diverse selection of high-quality papers and addresses that highlight the new contributions to humanistic doping research. We received a record number of abstract submissions. These include many prominent scholars and members of the INHDR as well as original research projects from across the Europe, North- and South America and Australia. The conference program should be full as academics, journalists, lawyers, and athletes explore the conference theme: “Evaluating the Unintended Effects of Anti-Doping.”
As we have done with past INHDR conferences, in addition to our formal banquet on August 28th, we will be organizing an informal gathering on the evening of August 26th. This “Happy Hour” is a relaxing chance for returning members to catch up with colleagues and friends and new members to make acquaintances before the sessions begin. We are also eager for another opportunity to welcome new scholars as once again the conference program promises many presenters who will be at the INHDR for their first time. From graduate students to post docs to professors, the INHDR conference will bring together scholars from various humanities fields to share, discuss, debate, and ultimately better understand the complex doping phenomena.
Last, please allow us to once more thank all of you who submitted abstracts or will attend this year’s conference. Conference organizing is not without challenges but it is rewarding to see so many people who wish to participate. Not every abstract was accepted and we know how disappointing it can be. The growth and quality of the submissions made selecting papers more demanding than ever. We are also pleased with the number of individuals who plan to attend, though they are not delivering a paper. We think this speaks to the relevance of past conferences and the quality of the current conference program. We encourage anyone with an interest in better understanding humanistic doping research, whether an academic, journalist, lawyer, or policy maker, to join us for another edition of the INHDR’s biannual conference.
For this newsletter, we have highlighted the abstracts from our keynote presenters to provide all of you with a taste of the forthcoming conference. As you shall see, the conference keynotes have each taken a novel approach to the conference theme.
Also in this newsletter you will find information on conference registration, accommodation and transportation to Aarhus.
Professor Torbjörn Tännsjö, Stockholm University, Sweden
Doping is wrong. Why? Because it is forbidden. Doping therefore means cheating. But when has an athlete cheated? I distinguish between three ideas of what it means to cheat: a realist one, a weak verificationist one, and a strong verificationist one. The realist understanding spoils the sport event. We can never know who is the real winner. The vericationist understanding, strong or weak, is at variance with the rationale behind the ban on doping: he who is the winner in the genetic lottery should also be the winner of the sport competition. The ban on doping is therefore unstable. I argue that it should be given up. The rationale behind it cannot not stand to reason. The notion of justice and fairness it depends on should be rejected. It is indeed harmful to the sport society in particular and to society in general when it is upheld.
Former professional cyclist, MR Consulting & trading Aps, Michael Rasmussen, Denmark
During my career as a professional cyclist first as a mountain bike rider, and later as a road racer I have gathered experience of what it means to be a top-level athlete in a progressively competitive milieu in an increasingly medicalized world. The driving force throughout my career was to make the most of my talent for cycling. My passion for the sport made me one hundred per cent focused on improving my performances. I have trained like a mad, kept a strict diet and sacrificed many of the pleasures enjoyed by young people living ordinary lives, always with an aim to win big races. When I realised that success in cycling required more than hard work and a strict diet I had some difficult decisions to make, and conflicting considerations to take into account. Based on personal experiences throughout my professional cycling carrier and the time after having admitted to use performance enhancing means and in 2013 testified to the anti-doping authorities, I will, in this presentation discuss the ideal and reality of the level playing field an present illustrative examples of situations, where – and why – the fight against doping have had undesired and counter-productive effects.
Chief Executive of the Anti-Doping Authority the Netherlands, Herman Ram
A considerable number of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) are not the consequence of deliberate ‘cheating’, but are unintentional. Three kinds of athletes’ behaviour are particularly relevant in this respect:
1. The use of social drugs that are on the Prohibited List,
2. The consumption of food or food supplements that may contain prohibited substances, and
3. The use of prohibited substances for therapeutic purposes.
Coping with unintentional ADRVs is daily practice for Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs).
First and foremost, ADOs have to deal with such cases when they occur. A number of Dutch cases will be presented in order to demonstrate what (more or less satisfactory) solutions can be found within the existing legal framework of the World Anti-Doping Code. In addition, it will be shown that the way in which unintentional cases are managed by ADOs is far from harmonized.
Secondly, ADOs are obliged to look for ways to diminish the risk of unintentional ADRVs. Education is key, but other preventive actions can certainly help as well. A number of such preventive measures (realized either in the Netherlands, elsewhere or globally) will be examined and evaluated.
Thirdly, ADOs are obliged to submit proposals, not only to WADA, but also to governments and other regulatory bodies, that may help to further diminish the number of unintentional ADRVs. A number of such proposals (both proposals that were accepted and proposals that did not make it into the rules) will be examined and evaluated.
Professor Verner Møller, Aarhus University, Denmark
On the World Anti-Doping Agency’s website the organisation presents itself as a body of Integrity, Accountability, and Excellence, which among other things mean that: “We are impartial, objective balanced and transparent.” “We observe the highest ethical standards…” “We develop policies, procedures and practices that reflect justice, equity and integrity”. “We respect the rights and integrity of clean athletes.” “We benchmark off and apply best practice standards to all our activities.”
Few will disagree that anti-doping is a noble idea with laudable aims. Sports’ administrators and responsible governing bodies have an obligation to protect athletes’ health, and fair competition. If they neglect the health risks associated with a given sport they are rightly deemed reckless. If they do not oppose various agents attempt to create unfair competitive advantages for themselves, their athletes, or teams, the integrity and allure of the affected sports is undermined. Hence it makes sense to implement safety regulations and procedures, financial fair play etc. Anti-doping measures are implemented to the same effect. However, since the formation of WADA it has become still more apparent that the current anti-doping strategy is not the right cure if the purpose of the enterprise is to protect athletes’ health and secure a level playing field. A significant number of controversial cases justify the hypothesis that the current system works to the opposite effect.
In this presentation it will be argued that the original and laudable aims of anti-doping has been lost in the pursuit of drug cheats leading to a situation where we now find that the protection of athletes’ health, rights, and integrity has been sacrificed and the noble values WADA claims as fundamental to anti-doping under their auspices are severely compromised, which leads to the conclusion that a new approach is needed in order to resurrect sport as a healthy and fair competition with respect for the integrity of athletes.
Professor Letizia Paoli, University of Leuven, Belgium
The presentation will compare the markets for illegal drugs and doping products (i.e., both doping substance and methods) and their respective control policies on the following issues:
- The drugs/doping products and their legal status
- The incidence of their use and the users’ motivations
- Their suppliers, including the suppliers’ background, motivation and modus operandi
- The role state agencies/representatives play(ed) in the market
- Their supply chains and the latter’s legal status, as well as
- The evolution, justifications, main measures and effectiveness of the respective control policies.
For this analysis I will draw on 1) several studies I have conducted over the past fifteen years on illegal drug markets and drug policies, 2) the study on the Italian market for doping products that I published in 2013 with Sandro Donati and 3) ongoing research with Bertrand Fincoeur on doping, doping supply and anti-doping policy in Belgian and French cycling, as well as 4) the recent scientific literature.
On the basis of this comparative analysis of the drug and doping markets and their respective control policies, I will draw some policy implications and recommendations with the aim to make anti-doping policies more accountable and effective.
Senior Lecturer Paul Dimeo, Stirling University, Scotland
The formulation of anti-doping policy – as an idea and as a set of regulations – in the 1960s, set the foundation for the successes and failures of subsequent decades. The unintended consequences are varied and complex; it will be proposed here that many of them are the result of misguided attempts to achieve the unrealistic goal set out over 50 year ago: ‘clean sport’.
When the IOC and other international governing bodies sought to understand and regulate drug use in the mid-to-late 1960s, their chief concern was stimulants. Thus, the establishment of a test for amphetamines and other similar drugs seemed like a solution to the problem. ‘Clean sport’ was perceived as a realistic possibility through in-competition testing.
The ensuing steroid epidemic of the 1970s and 1980s was perhaps unforeseeable to the pioneers of the 1960s. Anti-doping leaders were facing an uphill struggle with few resources, against governments, suppliers, coaches and athletes, many of whom came to view steroids as a necessity and innovated in drug use and masking agents. Thus, the unintended consequence of the simplicity and idealism of the 1960s was the impotence of sports organisations in the face of a crisis.
The scandals of the late 1980s and 1990s pushed the issue into the public domain. The debate was framed by the same dichotomies of clean/dirty, good/evil, moral/corrupt; the idealism was persistent. Yet, in the attempt to enhance their powers and pursue a crackdown, numerous innocent athletes were punished, while the organised dopers could easily evade sanction.
By the time WADA was formed, the idealism of clean sport had inadvertently produced a highly contentious situation. However, in a desire to focus upon the only aspect they could control – the athlete’s body – WADA’s introduction of strict liability, excessive surveillance, and sanctions for non-performance-enhancing drugs, the consequence has been that the reason for anti-doping has been forgotten in the midst of de-humanising institutionalisation and over-bureaucratisation. Moreover, the only solution that can be proposed by WADA is for more funding for scientific research, more surveillance, more testing, tougher sanctions and tighter regulations; in other words, more of the same.
Yet, we are no closer to ‘clean sport’, and innocent parties continue to be victimised in a culture where following the rules is deemed more urgent than reflecting upon the nature of those rules or upon the traumas faced by those who are (rightly or wrongly) accused of doping. The unintended consequences of a consistent failure to live up to historical expectations include a whole raft of problems for sport: mistrust between stakeholders, lack of engagement with athletes, compliance inconsistencies, some dubious sanction decisions, and lack of transparency and accountability. In sum, the principled aim of clean sport and a failure to deliver it, have, over time, metamorphosed into a ‘regime system’ that does not always meet the broader ethical ambitions of protecting the rights of athletes to compete on a level playing field.
Lecturer, Martin Hardie, Deakin University, Australia
Events in Australia over the last two and a half years have caused me to wonder as to whether the practice of anti-doping in professional cycling in the last decade are only just the beginning of something more far reaching and in fact frightening.
In February 2013 a press conference in Canberra, Australia announced the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) “Drugs in Sport Report”. It is what follows this announcement and the course embarked upon by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) and the Australian Football league (AFL) which have turned the so-called athlete rights and protections contained in Australian anti-doping law on their head and which signal the end of the modernity. Some of the key events that have shaped this new way of doing anti-doping in Australia include:
- the leaks of confidential information and the media campaign (January 2013 – March 2015);
- the charges of bringing the game into disrepute brought by the AFL against coaches and other staff of the Essendon Football Club (August 2013);
- the drawn out investigation (January 2013 - December 2014);
- the legal challenges and response by the Australian Federal Court (August 2014 - February 2015); and
- the hearing of assertions of doping against that club’s players and the sports scientist, Stephen Dank (January -February 2015)
Notably and consistently, for many, in the light of the first of these events (the media campaign) everything else that followed was merely window dressing, tardy or superfluous. Guilt had already been adjudged and determined through the mechanisms of moral panic and media demonization. Once again it seems the law, as we knew it, has been overdetermined by the spectacle. And it is this spectacle that seems to govern. As so many have howled over this period “I don’t care about the law or process – I just want to watch footy”.
To register for the conference use the Aarhus University Webshop, by following this link. There will be two options for registration; a standard and a reduced for students, including PhD students. Both include access to the full program, coffee, lunch and the conference banquet Friday night. You do not want to miss out on this, so remember to not book your return travels until Saturday 29.
The conference hotel will be the Hotel Scandic Aarhus City which is situated in the centre of Aarhus, within walking distance of the conference venue. The organisers will, however, organise a shuttle bus service for those who prefer a lift. The hotel sits in the middle of the city centre surrounded by a wealth of shopping opportunities, cafes, restaurants and sights, such as the internationally renowned ARoS art Museum and Aarhus’ Old Town Museum. The top of the hotel has an impressive view over Aarhus city, the harbour, as well as the woods and beaches.
Price per night for single rooms including breakfast and free Wi-Fi is 980.00 DDK (approx. 145 USD, 130 EUR, or 95 GBP). Please refer to being an INHDR conference delegate and use the Booking Code INS250815 when writing directly to the receptionist: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rooms can be booked as long as there are available standard rooms or until 14 days before the conference.
If you prefer a hotel alternative for discounted rooms at cheaper rates we recommend Cabinn Aarhus. This hotel sits next to the river in central Aarhus and offers rooms for 495-675 DDK per night for standard or commodore rooms (75-100 USD, 66-90 EUR, or 48-65 GBP). It is also within walking distance of the conference venue.
A number of other hotels, such as for instance the SAS Radisson, are also available.
Airport: Copenhagen (CPH)
Connected to most of the world’s larger cities this is the most convenient airport for most delegates. One can either fly from here to Aarhus (1 hour) or travel directly from the airport to Aarhus city centre by train (3 hours)
• Train ticket: approximately $70 USD (one way)
Airport: Billund Airport (BLL)
Many routes connected with the UK and Europe mainland. There is a shuttle service from airport to Aarhus city centre:
• Shuttle service, fee: approximately $30 USD (one way)
Aarhus Airport (AAR)
A smaller airport, 45 minutes from Aarhus city centre. The airport has a number of daily connections with CPH. There is a shuttle service from the airport to Aarhus city centre:
• Shuttle service, fee: $15 USD (one way)
The INHDR is excited to share a new book by Michael Krüger, Christian Becker, and Stefan Nielsen. Titled German Sports, Doping, and Politics: A History of Performance Enhancement. The work is a unique study spanning from 1950-2007. Translated from its original German, and supplemented with new material written especially for an international audience, this innovative book addresses many important questions about a topic with worldwide implications.
Part I deals with the history of doping in the post-war period of the 1950s and ‘60s; Part II focuses on the apex of doping, as well as the beginnings of the anti-doping movement; and Part III considers the development of doping since the Reunification and the foundation of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Anti-Doping Agency in Germany.
More can be found about the work at the following link: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442249202/German-Sports-Doping-and-Politics-A-History-of-Performance-Enhancement#
Please let us know if you have published works that would be of interest to the INHDR membership and we would happily share the information with the INHDR membership.