In previous sections, an alternative to traditional anti doping work has been presented. Although the presented strategy may seem obvious, it may not be simple to implement. Suppose we focus on 100-meter sprint. Most doping experts would probably agree that this event is especially exposed for doping abuse.
It is simple – running as fast as possible – and as reality have demonstrated; anabolic steroids is almost always helpful in performance improvement. If the “medicine” prescribed above is to be applied, one should aim to make it more dimensionally complex. That is not necessary difficult, but some obvious constraints exist.
For instance, it should at least to some extent keep its popularity. Introducing hurdles is a simple but not very constructive suggestion – as 110 m hurdles already exist. Running blindfolded could be an alternative, but the notion of the worlds fastest blindfolded man or woman may perhaps not be as popular as the normal version of the event.
The option of making it infinitely complex (forbid it) is of course always a possibility, but may not taste good.
In short, the strategy suggested her is far from obvious. Redesigning sports in order to minimize doping, and at the same time keep popularity is actually a very complex target to achieve. Still, as a different way of looking at the doping problem, it has potential. As I see it, this potential is both interesting and feasible to achieve, but by no means simple to implement.
Finally, one important dimension we have avoided discussing so far, needs some investigation – uncertainty of outcome.
This concept, introduced in [Rottenberg, 1956] is considered important among sports economists. Put simply, it states that if the spectators know who will win a sport competition, their interest, demand or willingness to pay to watch it decreases. Returning to the example on mass start in section 3.
The statement “giving more skiers winning opportunities” indicates a change in uncertainty of outcome, in this case probably in a positive (increasing) direction. That is, demand may be severely negatively affected by reversing back from mass start to interval start.
This points out the complexity of the matter. One would prefer to keep doping prevalence at some minimum level (not necessarily zero), but keep athlete effort maximized.
At the same time, one wants to achieve maximal recruitment as well as spectator interest. As pointed out above, all this dimensions are interrelated, and there are trade off-s involving different costs. Increasing uncertainty of outcome may lead to increased demand but also more doping. Luckily, if one sticks to making the sport more complex, in most situations, uncertainty of outcome should increase. So, the mass/interval-start example may be considered a special case.