Fastest, Highest, Strongest: A Critique of High-Performance Sport by Rob Beamish & Ian Ritchie

Read Fastest, highest, strongest : a critique of high-performance sport

Explores the use of drugs and other performance-enhancing practices in sport, tracing the development of the situation through its socio-political history. This work presents a critique of the use of athletes as representatives of political regimes, and the constant striving for medals that has altered the ethos of the Olympic Games.

This was an interesting and thought-provoking read on high performance sport and mostly on doping.

Doping is a highly emotional issue and going through its history with a new lens took me out of my comfort zone − and it was fascinating. Beamish seems to have a very clear opinion that anti-doping policies are a direct consequence of the cold war, and to a lesser extent of the war on drugs. They’re paternalistic, they’re deeply useless, they’re actively harmful (especially in the case of sex testing), and they lead to so much more danger than doing nothing. Beamish for example argues that steroids are not nearly as dangerous as the myriad of weird mixtures created to evade steroid testing.

This book should probably not be taken on its own, it goes against pretty much all we’re told about doping and I need to do more research. But it made me think a lot and will lead me to more nuance in the future.

Fastest, highest, strongest : a critique of high-performance sport is available to borrow and read for free on the Internet Archive.

Commentaire / Comment


  1. The final month of 2023 is finally starting and the year has been long and transformative. I’ll have a lot to say in my recap…