How far is too far in the pursuit of victory? Sports, values and drugs

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Olympics Paralympics drugs performance-enhancing

Fresh from a controversial Olympic Games in Rio, with large-scale banning of athletes for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, the question of ethics in sport has become a hot button issue.

Fairness and health remain the core arguments against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport, but critics argue that fairness only requires that all competitors have access to the same drugs, and that athletes’ health would be better protected if doping was regulated by a professional.

Dr Thomas Murray, a leading voice in the space of biomedical ethics, is in Australia this month to deliver two talks as part of the Australian Catholic University's (ACU) Luminaries Series focusing on Why We Play? Sports, Values and Drugs.

No stranger to the battle against performance-enhancing drugs use in elite sport, Dr Murray serves as chair of the Ethical Issues Review Panel for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), having presided over The Hastings Center – a world-leader in ethical issues in the areas of health, health care, life sciences research, and the environment – for more than a decade.

Sydney’s lecture will have added significance, with Dr Murray to be introduced by ACU Chancellor, The Hon John Fahey AC, who served as the WADA President between 2008 and 2014.

Chief investigator on the research project on which Dr Murray is collaborating, Dr David Kirchhoffer from ACU’s School of Theology and Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, said Dr Murray’s lecture will dive into the very heart of the values of sport at a time when the world’s attention is on pursuits of athletic greatness.

“Throughout professional sport there have instances of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, with the recent Olympic Games in Rio magnifying discussion of the issue,” Dr Kirchhoffer said.

“In Dr Murray we have one of the most respected voices in biomedical ethics, bringing a distinct understanding of the issues around ethics in sport and an in-depth knowledge of how authorities are going about keeping sport clean.”

The ACU Luminaries Series, presented by the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, is a series of public lectures, seminars, short courses, workshops and research colloquia with internationally acclaimed scholars and experts, exploring how social, cultural, political and religious issues impact how we understand our world.

Event details

What: ACU Luminaries Series: Why We Play? Sports, Values and Drugs

When: 5.30pm for 6pm Monday 19 September (Sydney); 6pm for 6.30pm Wednesday 21 September (Melbourne)

Where: Level 22,Tenison Woods House, ACU North Sydney Campus (map); The Christ Lecture Theatre, ACU Melbourne Campus (map)