Assessing the Competency of Sport to Regulate Technology

By Jon Heshka and Kris Lines.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There were 66 swimming records set at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – a more than six-fold increase over the number set in Athens in 2004 – and 108 swimming world records set in 2008. The furor over the exotically designed and manufactured swimsuits worn gave rise to allegations that such gear was tantamount to ‘doping on a hangar’. Technology is ubiquitous in sport. Whilst the World Anti-Doping Agency recognizes that technology is to be embraced, sports governing bodies struggle to derive a consistent approach from which to regulate technologies that modify performance. Whereas skating venues compete to see who has the fastest ice, swimming’s governing body seems uncertain what to do with technologies which too serve to make the athlete faster. This paper analyzes the concept of ‘spirit of sport’ as defined by WADA and the conceptual limitations in viewing technology as a performance enhancing method. The paper also evaluates the competency and coherence with which sports governing bodies such as swimming’s FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation), skating’s ISU (International Skating Union), and track’s IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) to effectively deal with the interface of technology with sport.

Keywords: Performance Enhancing Technology, Spirit of Sport, WADA Code, Technological Doping

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 669.800KB).

Jon Heshka

Assistant Professor, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada

Jon Heshka teaches law and business at Thompson Rivers University. He has played semi-pro volleyball in Brazil and worked as a climbing guide leading expeditions around the world. He has also trained and coordinated search and rescue in Canada, managed risk and sales with a European-based manufacturer of outdoor equipment, and been an expert witness for the US National Park Service. Jon presents at conferences internationally and publishes extensively, and consults with all levels of government and the private sector on risk management.

Kris Lines

Lecturer and Head of Sports Law, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, UK

Kris Lines is a Lecturer and Head of the Sports Law at Staffordshire University. His research interests are sports negligence, doping, and the regulation of governing bodies. Kris publishes extensively on sports law issues and hosts a blog, The Sports Law Canary. A former elite gymnast, Kris also coaches trampolining and gymnastics.