Argyle Armada author Mark Johnson has spent the last two years researching and writing a comprehensive look at doping, called “Spitting in the Soup,” published by VeloPress. Red Kite Prayer has been hearing about this book for a good year and has eagerly awaited its release. Johnson is not only an immensely talented photographer, but he’s an accomplished writer as confirmed by his Ph.D. in literature. He’s the right guy to examine not just the history of doping but its place within the history of sport.
Q) A lot of books have been written about dopers. Why another?
A) A lot of good books have been written about individual athletes who doped. Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Ben Johnson, David Millar, José Canseco—they all either wrote or were the subject of books about their individual acts. I was interested in the larger historical context of doping. Turning to chemicals to push human performance has always been essential to sports—especially pro sports that got their start in the late 1800s. I wanted to understand how and why doping became an act of moral deviance, a crime against self and society. What happened to make doping a categorical evil?