Analytical Summary Paper: The Doping Dilemma
In “The Doping Dilemma”, Michael Shermer writes about the consequences and the ethics behind performance enhancing substances in professional sports. He begins with an anecdote, which describes the feeling of getting “dropped by your competitors on a climb” (420:2). As described by the author in the development of the story, every athlete has a genetic limitation that regular training cannot exceed (421:4). According to Shermer, the only thing to be done is to dope. Arguing that, in order for an individual to stay competitive nowadays, he needs to make use of performance enhancing substances. Shermer concludes that today’s drugs are better, harder to test, and the incentives usually favor them (421:8/422:9). The author effectively argues that there should be a direct shift on the incentives regarding sports doping. His experience read as a reflective narrative to young competitors who are now starting, and to those who are already veterans. He believes that sports should return to the foundation of celebrating those rewarded by excellence, aided only by their determination to succeed.
Shermer points out the scenario professional athletes have been facing since the 1990’s. Making performance enhancing drugs part of the team’s “medical program”, team members are bound to embrace illegal substances in their preparation before they are cut from the team (421:6). According to Shermer, his reasons for competing did not match the principles behind doping. He was a thirty-year-old academic with a career to return to, cycling just to test his physical limitations. However, he could relate to the young, amateur athletes who earn their living through sports and have no other ambitions in life, other than compete and win. These same athletes, who are convinced that “everyone else” dopes; therefore, they should do it too (421:7). Even though we rather deceive our minds from even considering that such competitors use drugs, we...
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