Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Recent Writing: FINWEEK November 2012

The economics of doping – why it pays to cheat

By: Nick van der Leek
There is no question, our attitudes to doping are schizophrenic. While we deplore elite athletes who use performance enhancers, most people can’t start their day without one. One commercial company, Nestlé sees growth particularly in nutritional products that emphasise health, well-being and fitness.  Others go a step further. The maker of Creatine brag on its product labels that users of the product have previously won Olympic gold. Given society’s approach to nutrition and obsessions with appearances (from appetite suppressants used by teenagers to plastic surgery across the spectrum), it’s hardly surprising that doping is on the rise. ASA president James Evans notes skyrocketing numbers of positive tests amongst SA athletes of late. “I don’t know what’s going on,” Evans said in October 2012, “but doping in South African athletics is becoming a serious problem.”

For the man in the street, Lance Armstrong has become doping’s poster boy, and he’s likely to be in court for the foreseeable future, warding off claims to his ill-gotten gains. At the end of the process, at bears noting, he’s likely to be up on the whole deal. And this begs the question, is cheating worth it?

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