Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports

Mark Johnson

Velo Press, 2016

Agent: Jill Marr

Doping is a practice as old as sport. From baseball to track and field, cycling to horse racing, doping to win has been a part of sports for over 150 years. Today, the athletes caught using performance enhancing drugs are villainized as cheaters and morally flawed people whose presence in sports is an affront to the athletes who don't take short cuts.

But this tidy worldview cheats sports fans. Doping in sport is certainly an individual decision, but to blame only the athletes ignores decades of historical context and the cultural ecosystem in which teams, coaches, athletes, sports federations, and even spectators play a role. The truth is messy, and more shocking.

In Spitting in the Soup, sports journalist Mark Johnson explores the dirty game of doping, its underground methods, the deals made behind closed doors, and the insidious cycle that keeps drugs in sports. Johnson unwinds the doping culture from the early days when pills meant progress and uncovers the complex relationships underlying today's sports culture.

It's easy to assume that drugs have always been frowned upon in sport, but for two-thirds of organized sporting history, that is not true. Drugs in sports are old. It's banning drugs in sport that is new. Spitting in the Soup offers a bitingly honest, clear-eyed look at the dirty game of doping in sports.