Wada as Sporting Empire
Prospects and Shadows
In the efforts to police doping practices in high performance sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency exerts formidable powers of registration and control over competing athletes. Using the political framework of Empire developed by Hardt and Negri, this essay interrogates WADA’s policing practices, which allow it to draw biological specimens from an athlete’s body in or out of competition with no advance notice; which require athletes to provide accurate whereabouts information at all times for said testing; which reserve the right to retroactively nullify previous results should future detection techniques be discovered within an eight-year statute of limitations; and which is implementing a longitudinal “athlete passport” system. The essay concludes that due to these techniques of control the striated space of sporting competition has mutated into a topological form that challenges traditional understandings of fixed space and time, and that this introduces potential new subjectivities for high performance and recreational athletes alike.