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April 28, 2017

The Price of Gold: Rethinking Doping in Professional Sports

The use of performance-enhancing drugs, or “doping,” is a critical issue in elite sports. Adelphi Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education and Sport Management Julian R. Woolf, Ph.D., is challenging assumptions in this controversial arena.

Julian R. Woolf

Dr. Woolf’s recent research focused on a study called the Goldman Dilemma, conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, which asked athletes if they would be willing to take a substance that guaranteed sporting glory but would cause their death within five years. The result—50 percent said they would take the drug—became a justification for pervasive, rigorous anti-doping practices worldwide.

Dr. Woolf argues that the Goldman study used unreliable methods and therefore does not provide an accurate picture of athletes’ relationship to doping. By questioning the long-held beliefs that paint doping as a black-and-white issue, he is leading the way for scholars and sport managers who want to understand the psychology of athlete doping and shape future drug control policy.


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