Last updated on: 11/21/2008 | Author:

Simon Barnes Biography

Chief Sportswriter at The Times
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Accepted in Sports?"

“The worst decision sport ever made was to start testing for drugs. Once they began to catch the cheats, all hell broke out and we began to lose the faith…

But it’s only a few cynics arguing a line for the sake of it who say that testing should be scrapped and may the best pharmacist win. People who actually like watching sport – the people who actually matter in any professional sport – are mostly agreed that doping is a bad thing and that people who dope should be banned.

No one is quite sure why. Is it because doping is immoral? Or is it because doping is dangerous to the user? Normally, someone who knowingly does something dangerous in order to achieve great things is regarded as a bit of a hero, even if the task in question is comparatively pointless, like climbing Everest or sailing single-handed round the world. So isn’t someone who knowingly takes a dangerous drug to win a gold medal for his country also a hero?

Well, the consensus replies with a big no…There is a sense in which drugging – altering your body – for the sake of mere sport makes sport too important. Sport, for those who watch, is just a pastime, an entertainment, we don’t want it to be a life-and-death matter. There is also the argument that the troubled sports must stop doping because people will stop their children doing them.

The only certainty about doping is that people don’t want it…We don’t know why it’s wrong, but wrong it most certainly is. It’s something to do with the purity of sport.”

“What’s Wrong with Drugs at the Olympics?,” The Times, Aug. 8,2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Chief Sportswriter, The Times, 1982-present
  • Columnist, Saturday column on wildlife, The Times
  • Columnist, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) magazine
  • Blogger, “Barnes in Beijing,” The Times, July 2008-Aug. 2008
  • Recipient, Sports Columnist Award, Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) British Sports Journalism Awards, 2007
  • Recipient, Sports Writer of the Year Award (for Sports Feature Writer category), UK Sport, 2004
  • Voted Olympic Writer of the Year by SJA, 2004
  • Recipient, Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Bristol
  • Attended University of Bristol
  • He lives in Suffolk with his family and five horses