Why did they do it? Frank discussions with former Tunisian athletes who have engaged in doping
Keywords:Attitudes, Doping control, Motivation, Prevention.
Background. Pressures to use illegal drugs are particularly strong in developing countries, where coaches from Eastern Europe work on short-term contracts, and athletic success seems vital to their continuing careers,
Purpose. Anti-doping agencies seem to be fighting a losing battle. Can their task be helped by studying athlete motivations?
Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on 6 high-level Tunisian competitors in individual sports; all admitted to doping.
Results. Some athletes doped themselves, but others were victims of more sophisticated manipulation by coaches, physicians and officials. Competitors argued that doping technology had outpaced control procedures, so that they and their families would be denied the financial rewards of success unless they became involved in doping. Money was more important than a medal to those emerging from an impoverished society. Overseas travel gave opportunity to watch international rivals engage in illicit practices and provided new access to doping agents. Behaviour was constrained more by the high cost of doping than by ethical considerations. If caught, previous adulation as a "super-athlete" outweighed subsequent shame. Those who resisted doping were robbed of camaraderie, and developed a strong antipathy to those cheating them out of medals.
Conclusions. New approaches to doping control could include the lifetime debarring of physicians and coaches convicted of doping, contracts requiring the payment of punitive damages to sponsors by the athletes involved, and reducing the pressure to "win" from the earliest ages of sport instruction.
How to Cite
Terms of Publication
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the Health & Fitness Journal of Canada’s right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- The Contributor (author(s)) represents and guarantees that the Contributor is the sole proprietor of the work and the Contributor has full power to make this Agreement and grant that the work does not infringe the copyright or other proprietary right of any other person; and the work contains no libellous or other unlawful matter and makes no improper invasion of the privacy of any other person. The Contributor also represents and is responsible for the accuracy of the work.
- The Contributor will read, correct, and return promptly galleys and page proofs to the Editor (or designate). The Contributor will be responsible for the completeness and accuracy of these corrections. If the Contributor does not return galleys and page proofs within the schedule agreed upon with the Editor (or designate), the Publisher may proceed without the Contributor corrections.
- When applicable, the Contributor agrees to obtain written permissions and letters of agreement for all matter contained in the work that is protected by existing copyright, paying any permission fees for the use of text or illustrations controlled by others, and furnishing the Publisher with written evidence of the copyright owner’s authorization to use the material.
- When applicable, the Contributor agrees to obtain written permission for inclusion of any photographic materials involving a human subject, and provide the Publisher with written evidence of the subject’s authorization to use this material. In the case of subjects who have not reached the age of majority, the Contributor agrees to obtain and furnish the Publisher with written permission from the parent and/or legal guardian.
- The Contributor may draw on and refer to material in the work in preparing other articles for publication in scholarly and professional journals and papers for delivery at professional meetings, provided that credit is given to the work and to the Publisher.
- This agreement may not be changed unless the Contributor and the Publisher agree to the change by means of a formal addendum signed by the Contributor and the Publisher’s representative.
- This agreement shall be construed and governed according to the laws of the province of British Columbia and shall be binding upon the parties hereto, their heirs, successors, assigns, and personal representatives. Should any formal proceedings related to this agreement be brought, such formal proceeding may be brought only in the province of British Columbia.
By submitting an article to the Health & Fitness Journal of Canada the Contributor has accepted and agreed to all terms outlined in the copyright notice.