Catalyst: The Culture of Sport and Cheating

Cheating is now almost expected in sports. Athletes try to win by using performance enhancing drugs and then cheating on drug tests. Rules are no longer guidelines for the game but rather barriers to overcome. Cheating has become a game within the games.

At this Catalyst talk, Prof Alison Heather will talk about her work at the University of Otago developing tests to detect the use of sports doping agents. She has been involved in World Anti-Doping Agency Research, Partnership for Clean Competition Research and with the Anti-Doping Panel of Australia. Her work has led to the suspension of a number of highly recognised, international professional athletes from competitive sports.

She says officials are not optimistic about the future of drug cheating in sports. Realistically, they know that testing must become a regular part of every athlete’s permanent record. This type of cheating is not only hazardous to the health of the athletes but runs against every notion of fair competition. It hurts fans, destroys self and national pride, and affects children and teenagers who admire winning athletes.

So why do they cheat and how do we stop it?

Please register at connect@catalystnz.org. $5 donation at the door.

Professor Alison Heather moved to Dunedin from Sydney. She studied microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Sydney and proceeded to PhD studies concentrating on bacterial physiology. Passionate about sport and health, Alison has built a research team that focuses on two major issues for society- heart disease and doping in sports. The first project is fundamental research science that explores what goes wrong in arteries that results in them developing fatty blockages. The second project is innovative and technology-driven, focusing on developing tests to detect the use of sports doping agents. In her free time, Alison loves to walk the talk, competing in Ironman triathlons and ultra-marathons. Leading by example, Alison tries to inspire those around her to follow healthy, active lives.

Alison Heather

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