Monday, August 27, 2007

Free Radicals - Tour de France, Doping & Sport

whoa, our 11th show! crazy times. We are of course still very much open to hearing from people who have ideas for show themes - email us (well, Robyn) at

This week's show encompassed a few ideas we'd been tossing around as themes for a series of shows: the science of sport (physiologically, psychologically), and drugs and doping (the evolution of substance enhancement, its health effects, its ethical implications). In light of this year's Tour de France and the many media frenzies over athletes who had been caught for doping, we thought a show focussing on that and the pressures one faces as an endurance athlete of that caliber would address some of these sport-related themes.

Science journalist Hannah Hoag gave an outline of the history of doping and spoke with lawyer and Universite de Montreal graduate student Julie Samuelle, who is researching the role doctors play in athletic doping. McGill neuroscience PhD candidate Dave Crane was also in the studio, offering insight not necessarily as a scientist but as an athlete and Tour de France watcher himself. We tackled questions of why athletes use performance-enhancing substances, what is legal and illegal and how athletes are tested for drugs, and what the future of sport looks like in light of potential new doping methods, such as applying gene therapy to performance enhancement (as opposed to using it to treat injury, for example.)

Listen to the show!

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