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Doping: when sports and games are anything but fun


A considerable body of arts and literature is devoted to nobility in defeat, from Homeric times to our days of trials and tribulations, in which the bitterness of failure is sublimated into virtue. To paraphrase “Galbraith’s First Law,” we concur that, “Defeat is a vastly overrated virtue,” (in John Kenneth Galbraith’s case, the questioned attribute was “modesty”). Yet as the growing doping scandal of the Russian Olympic team goes on to show, the same applies to success at all costs. Breakneck competitiveness, tied to everything from national pride to commercial success, corrupts the notion of fair game and what the spirit of sports is. Doping is no different from the proverbial marathoner in New York who was caught taking the subway to a station near the finish line. It’s not what the game is about.


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