Saturday 1 September 2012

Talking about sports doping and Lance Armstrong at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

(the picture on the right is of Alex Hynes playing in a beautiful church on the Royal Mile) 

Last Monday I had the honour of talking about “Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat” at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Although I have travelled to Edinburgh frequently to the Science Festival in spring or to various scientific conferences, this is the first time I have been in the festival in the summer since 1982 when I acted in a Hampton School production of Strindberg’s “The Father”. I portrayed a soldier and had 23 lines in total. The Scotsman newspaper was not impressed – it rated us 2/10. Undaunted the following year we renamed our company Hampton 20% Theatre! Anyway given this less than auspicious history, it was perhaps as well that I returned to the festival talk about science rather than act. After the talk I explored the fringe with my 17-year-old thespian daughter. We say five shows in eight hours; the rigour of fringing seemed to be the same as 30 years ago, though if anything the quality of the productions was better.

The talk seemed to go well  - I even managed not to mess up my red wine blood doping demonstration for once. As ever there were a lot of interesting questions. Again Lance Armstrong came up a few times. On my return the Essex Uni. Human Performance Unit Director Dave Parry reminded me of an interview with Michael Ashenden where the controversial 1999 EPO positive tests are discussed in a lot of detail. If you have the time it makes fascinating reading; at one stage it informs on a previous blog of mine that suggested that Armstrong might be better at doping than his rivals (maybe as he was less scared about being caught?).

Anyway the article in full can be found here:

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