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The toxic promises of anti-doping

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In his Treatise on human nature, the philosopher David Hume affirms that the words given engage those who utter them and oblige these individuals or organizations to respect their promises under penalty of damaging their reputation. This observation seems to apply in sport since by increasing the number of broken promises, sports organizations have weakened confidence in the fight against doping.

For many, it seems obvious today to fight against doping and to severely sanction any violation of the World Anti-Doping Code. However, this way of fixing the legitimate way of producing a sporting performance corresponds to a particular moment in the history of sporting standards. The use of products to improve performance, such as cocaine or alcohol, hardly shocked at the beginning of the 20th century. The idea that we must fight against doping only emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, in conjunction with the defense of amateurism and the context of the Cold War.

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