On March 29, Cycling Weekly co-hosted with the University of Brighton a live debate between a handpicked selection of experts who spend their lives thinking about, and trying to solve, sport’s deep-rooted doping problems.
The event was inspired by two recent comment pieces published in CW, the first by sports ethics specialist Dr Paul Dimeo, who called for a revolution in anti-doping policy — a complete re-evaluation of what we mean by ‘cheating’.
In response, genetics expert Professor Yannis Pitsiladis countered that current anti-doping measures can succeed provided they evolve via improved testing and more severely punitive deterrents. Thus the debate was born — anti-doping: evolution or revolution?
The event began with presentations from Olivier de Hon from the Anti-Doping Knowledge Centre of the Netherlands and Dr Richard Budgett OBE, Scientific and Medical Director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
There followed a head-to-head debate between Dimeo and Pitsiladis, adroitly chaired by CW columnist Dr Michael Hutchinson, and concluded with an audience Q&A — featuring questions submitted to CW via Twitter using #dopingdebate.
The fascinating debate covered a wide array of discussion points, including the possible implications of liberalisation, discrepancies in the way doping is perceived across different countries and cultures, the ‘level playing field’ concept, and the risk of wrongful conviction for substances that are not truly performance-enhancing.