The Post Lancegate Era. Plea to allow doping in pro sports.

Doping in sports - ©

Doping in sports – ©


I guess anyone knows the story of Lance Armstrong by now. Just for the sake of ease I’ll refer to it as Lancegate and it points to “an all-American hero that fell to earth”.

Lance Armstrong’s recent doping confession to Oprah revamps an old discussion about doping (or the usage of banned performance-enhancing drugs) in professional sport(s).

What is the problem with doping?

The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical by international sports organizations and especially the International Olympic Committee. The reasons why we ban those substances are related to health risks, the noble idea of equality for all sportsmen and the desire of the public to think of sportsmen as heroes – doing all these spectacular things in a “clean” fashion.

I believe exactly those same arguments can be used to state that doping shouldn’t be a problem. And why there shouldn’t have been a lancegate.

Why doping shouldn’t be a problem. A plea to allow doping in pro sports.

First of all the unethical aspect. Why is doping labeled as not ethical? Frankly I don’t know. And it doesn’t make sense. All things mankind has ever done in medics and pharmaceuticals are equally performance-enhancing drugs in the sense that they clearly enhanced our life time. Our timely performance of living is enhanced due to drugs. We didn’t label that as unethical. Additionally, we drink wine (alcohol is a hard drugs people, it’s just socially accepted!) to enhance our dining experience. There’s hardly anyone labeling that as unethical.

Second, the health thing. It just might be that doping isn’t healthy. True. Nor are alcohol, cigarettes and medicines. Can we allow people to decide individually what they take and for what reason? I guess most smokers do know they are having an unhealthy habit. I guess all sportsmen using performance-enhancing drugs equally know they are messing up their bodies. Additionally, one could state that doping are in this respect little different from the use of new materials in the construction of e.g. swimming suits or Formula 1 cars. Those things provide a similar unfair advantage over other competitors. What’s the difference between a substance and e.g. better equipment?

Further more, the way we feel about doping today reflects our culture of “equality”. Everybody is the same. We all have the same opportunities. That’s a great idea. However, we all know that’s not true. With regards to professional sports, it’s quite clear that someone born in the e.g. USA has a way better environment to grow up in to become a sports hero than e.g. somebody in Angola. Just think about sports education, sports infrastructures, etc.

Asterix potion made him heroic.

Asterix potion made him heroic.

Finally the argument that the public (“we”) has the desire to believe the sport is “clean”. More important however is that the public wants to look up to sportsmen. They are heroes. They inspire people. Do we really care that the hero plays according to the rules? I believe we don’t. Let’s go back to the origin of the word “hero”. A hero was originally a courageous figure in a legend or a myth that did spectacular things throughout the story. Not rarely those “heroes” had a (semi-)divine origin and their acts exceeded the human capabilities. Just think of the Greek Heroi or the modern Spider-man and Superman as an example. Or one of my favorites: Asterix & his potion!

If we want sport heroes we’d better frame “doping” differently. And that’s exactly what Lance did. He framed doping differently.

And that’s exactly why there shouldn’t have been a Lancegate. Your thoughts?

When Archives turn Newsworthy: Cyclo-cross’s disruptive innovation…

I’m a big fan of recycling. Unless when it’s about stuff one writes. This time however I’m glad to “promote” one from the archive:

Cyclo-cross’s disruptive innovation that made competition irrelevant – JANUARY 9, 2011.

I believe I have good reason for recycling this. The article – that uses concepts like “blue ocean strategies” and “business model innovation” – demonstrates a particular disruptive skill in CX cycling that allows to outperform competition. It’s the case of Sven Nys. One of his main advantages is that he leaps over obstacles by bike where other riders need to get of their bike. Exactly this benefit made him the 2013 CX World Champ last sunday!

Watch the video of the 2013 CX WC final lap below. If you don’t understand the Dutch comments, look as from the 4th minute. The obstacles that Nys tackles like nobody else can be seen at 5:30. As from then, it was straight to the World Title.

Special interest in stories linking Business & Sports? Check the sports button in the upper navigation menu!

Sports & Business. Not that stupid after all?

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

A category of this blog bears the label “sports”. The articles within this section always link sports with business.
The posts aim to simplify more complicated business stuff by giving examples from the world of sports. In addition it strives to learn lessons from sports and apply them in a business kind of sphere.

Up until now, the sports category has 6 posts. The reason for that is that I always wondered whether this specific endeavour made any sense at all. Or as my last post finished :

Can businesses learn something from sport? Or is sport just sport?

I believe we can transfer insights from one societal aspect to another. Below are two cases from other people that back up this point. The question remains ‘why’ however.

Sport is not just sport. Content Marketing Strategy is like football.

Below is a free translation of a sports analogy used by: @steven_insites in a Dutch Marketing Magazine so to explain content marketing.

It’s like Football.

Developing a content conversion strategy is similar to putting together a football team. And it’s all about scoring in football. But in order to score the team must get the ball to the striker. Some teams use long passes to get there, others carefully advance through short passes. But in the end the ball needs to cross the line.

The marketer is the coach, the team composer. It’s up to him to decide how to get the ball crossing the line. But anyway, don’t expect to win without a proper strategy.

Sport is not just sport. The Jeremy Lin example.

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Another case demonstrating that learnings from sports can be transferred to business is the story of Jeremy Lin. This case deals with basketball, underdog positions and the power of social media.

During last week Jeremy Lin became a sensation. The New York Knicks guard became a sensation first on new media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but soon enough captured the attention of traditional media as well.

The Knicks guard is in tremendous shape and does crazy stuff on the court. Even that crazy it led to the neologism “linsational” or “linsanity”. This remarkable story detailed in the N.Y. Times shows us the power of bottom-up marketing for underdog players.

In this particular case people were surprised because they didn’t know Jeremy before. There are not that many Harvard players, not that many Asian-Americans. He’s an underdog. But he works hard and it pays off today.

So where’s the lesson for business?
SMEs and underdog players can turn their position into an advantage by offering great products (Jeremy plays incredible) and let that spread from within the fan network (Twitter, Facebook) towards the public sphere (traditional media, such as N.Y. Times). And yes, this includes working really really hard.

Why can we learn something from a completely different sphere?

I believe it’s proven we can learn a thing from an entirely different phenomenon. But why?
Is it because all are just aspects of the same society?

%d bloggers like this: