In the same week that the 2016 Tour de France kicked off (an event perennially maligned by performance-enhancing drugs) and Russia appealed the ban that will prevent its track and field athletes from competing in the Rio Olympics (thanks to widespread, state-sponsored doping), veteran sports journalist Mark Johnson debuted his new book Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sport.
Johnson’s book explores the history of doping in sports, going back 150 years to a time when pills meant progress, for both athletes and society. His reporting exposes the real focus of elite sports — not fair play, as long-standing myths would have us believe, but to push the boundaries of human performance. Spitting in the Soup takes a bitingly honest look at the role teams, coaches, governments, the media, scientists, sponsors, sports federations, and even spectators have played in doping in sports.
We spoke with Johnson about the truth behind performance-enhancing drugs, and what it will take for elite athletes to come clean.