Peter Singer on Sports and Drugs

 Peter Singer “Tour de France opens season on drugs, sport” Shanghai Daily 4 September 2007*1

今年のTour de Franceでは3人の選手と2つのティームがドーピング検査に引っかかっている。また、優勝者のAlbert Condorも昨年は陽性反応が出た。他方、米国ではバリー・ボンズのドラッグ疑惑。ピーター・シンガーは”It is reasonable to suspect that gold medals now go not to those who are drug-free, but to those who most successfully refine their drug use for maximum enhancement without detection.”とまでいう。
シンガーは牛津大学Uehiro Center for Practical Ethicsの生命倫理学者Julian Savulescu氏*2の提案を紹介する。彼は”we should drop the ban on performance-enhancing drugs*3, and allow athletes to take whatever they want, as long as it’s safe for them to do so”*4と言っている。

Savulescu proposes that instead of trying to detect whether an athlete has taken drugs, we should focus on measurable indications of whether an athlete is risking his or her health.
So, if an athlete has a dangerously high level of red blood cells as a result of taking erythropoietin(PO), he or she should not be allowed to compete. The issue is the red blood cell count, not the means used to elevate it.
To those who say that this will give drug users an unfair advantage, Savulescu replies that now, without drugs, those with the best genes have an fair advantage.
They must still train, of course, but if their genes produce more PO than ours, they are going to beat us in the Tour de France, no matter how hard we train.
Unless, that is, we take PO to make up for our genetic deficiency. Setting a maximum level of red blood cells actually levels the playing field by reducing the impact of the genetic lottery.
Effort then becomes more important than having the right genes.

But elite sport, watched by millions but participated in by few, is different. For the sake of fame and glory now, athletes will be tempted to risk their long-term health.
The problem is not with the athletes, but with us. We cheer them on. We acclaim them when they win. And no matter how blatant the drug use may be, we don’t stop watching the Tour de France.
Maybe we should just turn off the television and get our own bikes.



*3:John Sutherland “The ideas interview: Julian Savulescu”を読むと、enhancementというのは彼の鍵言葉であるようだ。