The Permanent State of Competition?

April 28, 2009: The IOC reanalyzed a total of 948 samples from Beijing after new lab tests for CERA and insulin became available following the Olympics. The testing began in January and focused mainly on endurance events in cycling, rowing, swimming and athletics.

"We suggest that athletes who may be tempted to cheat keep this reality in mind," WADA president John Fahey said. "We believe that retrospective testing serves as a strong deterrent."

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Article 12 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights dictates that "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation." In the contemporary high performance sporting arena, however, we might justly question if these same rights of privacy are extended to the athletes themselves. To police doping practices in high performance sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency has assumed formidable powers of registration and control over competing athletes, which allow it to draw biological specimens from an athlete’s body in or out of competition with no advance notice; which require athletes to provide accurate whereabouts information at all times for said testing; which reserve the right to retroactively nullify previous results should future detection techniques be discovered within an eight-year statute of limitations; and which tracks subjects longitudinally through an "athlete passport" system. This essay suggests that the conditions have been created through which high performance sport participation is subject to continual surveillance across both space and time, and that the formerly discrete site of sporting competition has topologically transformed such that it becomes a permanent condition of athletic being.

(to be presented by s.smith at the 2009 olympic reform: a ten-year review conference in toronto)


2 responses to The Permanent State of Competition?

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  1. Ryan says:

    I assume nobody tests cops for steroids.

  2. sportsbabel says:

    THX 1138 wouldn't think so.