08.23.06

Thoughts on the Summer of Drugs

Posted in Doping, Track and Field/Athletics at 4:12 pm by Nicole

Finally, the track and field world is starting to get it. Drug use starts not with young athletes driving for success, but with the influential coaches and advisers who surround these young, talented athletes when they’re just starting out, gain their trust, and then convince them that they have to take drugs in order to succeed. The news this week includes several stories about getting dirty coaches out of sport, and it’s about time.

The trifecta of Jones, Gatlin and Landis failing doping tests this summer is astonishing, not only for the fact that – think about this – two Olympic gold medalists in the 100-meter dash, the sport’s premier event, got nailed, but also for the fact that both of them got caught by drug tests performed in the United States. After years of appearing to not fight doping among its own athletes seriously, the United States looks like it’s starting to get it right.

It’s a good change. American athletes win lots of medals, but in Europe, we’re known as bigger drug cheats than any other country we dare point our fingers at. The fact that Gatlin failed a doping test at the Kansas Relays, and Jones at U.S. nationals, says a lot about USADA and the seriousness of the anti-doping effort in the United States.

John Powers of the Boston Globe, with whom I’ve shared many a mixed zone, has a piece in the Boston Globe (link below) talking about the United States’ new Olympic priorities. It’s not about winning any more. It’s about showing up clean.

Go to news.google.com for all the latest on Marion’s “B” sample and Gatlin’s decision to not fight the results of his drug test and Landis’ latest news. I’ve posted the most intriguing articles below, but there are lots more out there from where these came from.

Jones’ golden career at crisis point (Independent UK)

Priority is being clean, not cleaning up (Boston Globe)

Top marathons want tougher sanctions (The New York Times)

Salon.com on Jones’ drug positive

When drug excuses defy reason (USA Today)

Other sports news:

Swimming: Chinese keep the world guessing (SuperSwimmer)

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