Mark Johnson, author of the new book Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports says that doping culture has persisted despite nearly 50 years of efforts to weed it out. Doping programs have been run by countries, like Russia, the former Soviet Union and East Germany, as well as by teams, like Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Cycling Team and the French Festina squad.
Doping rings have also been run as businesses, such as the California-based BALCO ring that distributed performance-enhancing substances to sprinters, hammer throwers, boxers and major league baseball players in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Revelations about Russia’s recent program – which included the use of security agents to smuggle out doping results from testing labs – is unprecedented, Johnson noted.
“It’s the first time that the World Anti-Doping Agency has acknowledged what a collective endeavor doping is,” he said. “If an entire country is tossed out of the Olympics, it means that doping is more complex than just a few bad apples.”