Sunday, February 12, 2006

Doping in Torino

I am writing from the Torino Media Centre within the City after having read and heard a lot more about Repoxygen. Over the last few days, there have been a number of journalists getting in touch wanting to find out about this. On Thursday, I interviewed for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation's evening news. I spoke with Tom Harrington, whom I first met in Toronto when Genetically Modified Athletes came out. It's so good to speak to Tom, as he is genuinely interested in the broader philosophical questions that the development in technology provokes. I am also interviewing for CBC's The Hour on Monday, which will take place at the Main Media Centre in Torino.

From what I have seen, doping has been high on the news agenda for Torino. There still seems a lot of confusion about whether genetic doping is taking place and there are no confirmed cases. However, there does seem to be a lot of uncertainty about the circumstances here, which is quite different from Athens where nearly no discussions emerged during Games time about whether gene doping might be happening.

From what I have read, there is also less clarity about how best to deal with genetic doping. While WADA and others wish to treat it as just another form of doping, i believe that there is also a philosophical uncertainty about the future of doping and its bearing on humanity. This ambiguity relates to the broader changes within society through technology. In the end, we appear to live within a culture of enhancement and, in this environment, the relevance of prohibiting genetically modified athletes is weakened. All that remains is the medical interest to protect its integrity and the safety of athletes.

If any journalist would like to call me for interview while in Torino, I can be contacted on:

0034 6365 0302

Monday, February 06, 2006


Last week, a new gene doping story broke just as I was preparing my final grades for the end of semester and desperately trying to finalise details for the the research trip to the Torino Olympics. Repoxygen has been billled as the first case of genetic doping. Naturally, the media has gone crazy trying to understand what this means and sports officials already claim that a test is already under development.

Interestingly, the claim about this new method of doping using 'repoxygen' was discovered through heresay:

"The springboard for these dire pronouncements was an email German police found on the computer belonging to former east German coach to Katrin Krabbe, Thomas Springstein, who is on trial at the moment for doping under-age female athletes. The message complained how "difficult it is to get hold of Repoxygen. Please give me new instructions so that I can get hold of the product for Christmas". Michael Butcher, Scotland on Sunday [who, by the way, didnt bother to call me for an opinion!]

I'm off to Turin tomorrow and already have interviews lined up on this subject. On the approach to Athens, scientists were claiming that Beijing might be our first Gene Games, but it seems Turin might have that famous title.