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Overdosed on A-Rod? Here are Other Great Reads on Doping

The subject of sports and drugs is a serious and, it seems, eternal issue.

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees strikes out with two men on base to end the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 9, 2013, in the Bronx. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

This post was previously published on Aug. 21, 2013, and has been updated.

We know, we know. Enough already. But as baroquely banal as Alex Rodriguez’s saga with performance enhancing drugs has become, the subject of sports and drugs is a serious and, it seems, eternal issue.

We asked David Epstein – new ProPublican, acclaimed author of “The Sports Gene” and expert on matters of science and sports – to list some memorable reads on the issue of performance enhancing drugs:

What You Don't Know Might Kill You, Sports Illustrated, May 2009
This is my favorite story on supplements that I was involved with. (And it was introduced into the congressional record.) 

I Couldn’t Be More Positive, Outside, May 2011
A great story in which a journalist and amateur cyclist use drugs for a year.


The Fastest Man in the Prison Yard, ESPN, September 2009
I think this is about as interesting as athlete confessions get.


The Godfather, Sports Illustrated, March 2008
This was about a guy who sabotaged a study and made the medical community say that steroids don't work.


In Chase for Wins, a Runner Cheats, New York Times, October 2012
I like this one, just in terms of helping convince people that this is for lower level athletes too.

Who Knew, ESPN Magazine, November 2005
An ambitious look at the history of steroids in baseball.

“The Secret Race” and “Game of Shadows”
Both these books were both game changers. Here’s an excerpt from Game of Shadows.

Cheat Sheet: The Tyson Gay File, ProPublica, February 2014
The saga of the nation’s top sprinter likely done in by an obscure cream delivered by an anti-aging practitioner provides a view of the slipshod medical underworld of top-level sport, in which athletes risk their reputations in the enduring hunt for any competitive edge. 

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