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Out of thin air

Athletes are using more performance-enhancing technology than ever. But how much is too much?

By David Edmonds   December 2011

Oscar Pistorius competing in the men’s 400 metres semi-final at the World Championships, 2011

What happened to Ron Clarke in the 10,000 metres at the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 is now virtually forgotten, though at the time it was headline news. That race continues to influence many elite athletes today, whether or not they know it. Clarke says he’s lucky to be alive.

Nineteen sixty-eight was the year of the Paris riots, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam war was still raging. The Olympics were not…

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