"Doped: The Dirty Side of Sports" (2015 release; 60 min.) is a documentary about the doping problem in professional (and for that matter, non-professional) sports. After a brief introduction (with the inevitable Lance Armstrong disaster), we are introduced to WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and its US partner USWADA. 100m Olympic sprinter Tori Bowie explains how incredibly intrusive the WADA doping-compliance procedures are (such as: literally providing on-line information as to where one is at all times, so that WADA can make 'surprise' visits). We also get to know Adam Nelson, another US Olympic athlete who got silver at the 2006 Olympic games, hence missing out on the all-important sponsorships that befall only the gold winners. Eight years later, it turns out the gold medal winner from Ukraine was doped, so Nelson did get the gold medal but in the meantime had missed out on millions of dollars in sponsorships.
The documentary makes its position clear: the WADA rules do not work to perfection, as inadvertent doping and dopers are handed out harsh sentences, yet systematic dopers keep doing their thing, and get away with it (until they are caught). But what is the alternative? While the shortcoming of WADA are clear, nobody has a clear proposal that would replace or improve on the WADA rules. One extreme idea is to do away with anti-doping altogether, and simply let athletes do whatever they wish to do (as apparently was the case in the early days of the 20th century, where the concept of doping simply didn't exist). Let's simply do away with all pretense. Interestingly, the idea of pandemic doping is discussed, and someone comments "why doesn't the IOC ban certain countries? It will never happen!" (remember, this was filmed in 2014). Except that since then, the IOC has done the unthinkable, and banned Russian track and field athletes for the 2016 games, and Russia as a whole for the upcoming winter games next month (even though allowing certain Russian "clean" athletes to compete as "Olympic" athletes). In that sense, this documentary needs to get an update. (And I certainly don't mean to suggest that I have all the answers.)
Someone else comments that "anyone bent on doping, is gonna dope", and that is sadly the truth. This documentary feels like it is more an assessment of WADA (and USADA) than it is the prevalence of doping in professional sports. It's not a pointless discussion to have, but it also feels like there was more to examine.
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