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Today a trio of Vox articles explored performance-enhancing activities for athletes, amidst news that Russia’s mixed doubles curling team may forfeit their bronze medal after Aleksandr Krushelnitckii tested positive for meldonium, a heart drug that boosts athletic endurance. But Umair Irfan and Julia Belluz report that doping and other such tactics are “remarkably widespread among elite athletes,” including electrical stimulation that boosts the development of muscle memory and teaches the brain to ignore the pain of intense training. (That technology is presently allowed in all sports, in part because it leaves no chemical residue for which to test.) And then there’s the most universal form of ‘doping’ – strict diets customized for each sport, and sometimes for individual athletes, that use the science of athletic nutrition to maximize performance. If the ‘spirit of competition’ is to reward the best athletes – rather than the athletes with the best pharmacists – is there an argument that competitions should also not reward the athletes with the best nutritionists, chefs, and pantries?


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