Tennis Legend Yannick Noah Advocates Legalized Doping in Sports

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Former professional tennis player Yannick Noah recently wrote that the use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs should be permitted in sports in a guest editorial entitled “La potion magique” for the French newspaper Le Monde.  Noah argued that the athletes that win are the ones that have learned how to outsmart the anti-doping agencies. 

“If you don’t have the magic potion, it’s difficult to win,” said Noah.

Noah suggested that the ineffectiveness and inconsistency of anti-doping agencies around the world have done more to create unfair competition that doping itself.

However, Noah did not believe that the solution to the problem involved increased funding or improved anti-doping tests. Instead, he advocated the legalization of doping as the only way to level the playing field in sports.

“We’re not being treated in the same way as the majority of our adversaries from other countries,” Noah wrote. “The best attitude to adopt is to accept doping. And then everyone will have the magic potion.”

Noah used Spain and France as an example in his editorial. He suggested that the recent dominance of Spanish athletes in sports such as soccer, tennis and cycling (along with their more muscular appearance) is indicative of greater steroid use by Spanish athletes. This is the result of a more permissive attitude by Spaniards towards doping according to Noah.

France, by contrast, is much stricter when it comes to athletes that dope. Consequently, French athletes are at a competitive disadvantage to their neighbors in Spain.

He compared the treatment of French cycling champion Jeannie Longo in France to the treatment of Tour de France champion Alberto Contador in Spain. The Longo doping scandal has led to her condemnation in France while the Contador doping scandal has been largely dismissed while he continues to be celebrated in Spain.

Noah offered no evidence to support his allegations regarding Spanish athletes. His unsubstantiated accusations have elicited strong condemnations from several Spanish athletes.

Yannick Noah is one of the greatest tennis players in French history. He became the first Frenchman in 37 years to win the French Open in 1981. And he is the last Frenchmen to win since then.  He has continued to stay in the spotlight in France as a popular singer and performer.

In 1981, Noah once spoke of the problem of amphetamines as a performance-enhancing drug in tennis when he was a player. At the same time, he also defended his own practice of smoking marijuana before matches.

Yannick Noah

Photo credit: Wikipedia


Noah, Y. (November 19, 2011). “La potion magique”. Retrieved from