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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Sporting History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Sporting History

A gripping, provocative history of doping in sports—packed with examples—that proposes a new emphasis for modern anti-doping efforts.
Why is doping a perennial problem for sports? Is this solely a contemporary phenomenon? And should doping always be regarded as cheating, or do today’s anti-doping measures go too far?
Drawing on case studies from the early twentieth century to the present day, Doping: A Sporting History explores why the current anti-doping system looks as it does, charting its origins to the founding of the modern Olympic Games. From interwar notions of sporting purity to the postwar stimulant crisis, what seemed an easily resolvable problem soon became an impossible challenge as the pharmacology improved, the policy system stuttered, and Cold War politics allowed doping to flourish. The late twentieth century saw the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency, but has the intensity of these global measures led to unintended harms?
From the cyclist Tommy Simpson who died in 1967 on Mont Ventoux with amphetamines in his jersey to Team Russia’s expulsion from the 2018 Winter Olympics, Doping: A Sporting History is a gripping, provocative account that ultimately proposes a new approach: one for the inclusion and protection of athletes themselves.

320 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Sport and Recreation

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“Henning and Dimeo, both academics in the relatively novel discipline of sports studies, provide a broad overview of how doping has developed in elite sport, referencing all the most high-profile offenders. . . . They show how governing bodies were slow to react to the use of chemical compounds in sport, given that, in the West, they were seen as a potentially helpful solution to various physical and psychiatric problems."

Times Literary Supplement

"A very readable global overview and updating of doping and anti-doping in amateur and professional sport: testing, scandals, and suggestions for improvement... All told, this is a must-read."


“A highly accessible and thoroughly researched historical account of doping and anti-doping in elite sport. Doping: A Sporting History demonstrates why the ‘cops and robbers’ account of doping, in which seemingly morally justified anti-doping crusaders are pitted against athletic ‘cheats,’ is both false and misleading. The authors make recommendations for genuine reforms that consider the lives of the most important members of elite sport—the athletes themselves.”

Ian Ritchie, coauthor of "Fastest, Highest, Strongest: A Critique of High-Performance Sport"

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