Marion Jones Gives Back Her Medals

| 1 Comment

Dear readers, I am actually on vacation as of 9.30 am October 11, 2007 and will be through October 17, 2007. At 38,000 feet, cross the Atlantic, I am writing a few blogs about my take on the sport for your reading pleasure. I will be back, live and rested, on Thursday, October 18, 2007. Until then, please enjoy the next six days of essays, appearing one day at a time....

Marion Jones Returns her Medals

While I was trying to work out the LSB Chicago marathon last Monday, across the bottom of my TV screen came the update that Marion Jones had given up her five Olympic medals. There were three gold and two bronze, if I remember correctly.

Marion Jones is the poster child of modern society. She was, and is, the most talented athlete of her gender in this generation. The difference is that, Marion did not believe in herself and bought into the whole bs that surrounds drug use. To use drugs, there has to be a need for drugs. If the athlete and coach believe that the ONLY way to compete on an even field is using drugs then drugs will be used.

Being a natural athlete is the worst thing someone can say about an athlete. Natural talent suggests that no matter what the athlete does but winning all is failure and that is the wrong message. Natural athlete or not, a true athlete has to work out, spending ten to twelve years to achieve the level where he or she is at a world class level.

The scariest thing is the record book. There are many records in track and field that most thoughtful observers consider to be tainted. And that is where the judgement comes in. When someone runs a world record, there is always the suggestion that the record is dirty. Why? Because many were for so very long.

Marion Jones did more than hurt herself. She gave the message that only dirty athletes can win. Untrue. I still believe that Marion Jones could have won all of the medals she did, even against dirty athletes, completely clean. She is that talented.

The difference between first and eighth in the Olympic 100 meter final is what, four tenths of a second? While WADA struggles with human growth hormones and steroids, there are cheaters out there using insulin boosting, among other ways of getting around drug rules.

How do we battle against cheating? It is called ETHICS. Right and wrong. The reason that there were no world records in Osaka? Probably better drug testing, but also, the darn conditions! But guess what? TV audiences around the world loved the competition!

Our sport has to focus on the competition! Athlete versus athlete, and stop pushing the records. Participation, running, jumping and throwing are what it is all about.

Will anyone learn something from Marion Jones admitting her guilt last Friday? I think it was grand televsion and I am not good enough at reading someones soul to know if she was acting. I hope that the pain that Marion Jones has made for herself will stop at least one athlete from cheating in the future.

For more on trackand field, please check: http://www.american-trackandfield.comThursday, October 11, 2007

1 Comment | Leave a comment

Thanks Larry. It seems too many athletes today, and from my era as well, find some reasons that in their mind, justify the use of drugs.

I had the pleasure of being with Lisa Reinsberger last week in Chicago...and have had the same conversation with Jon Sinclair...we wish the testing taking place now occured 20 years ago. We suspect many of the sport's hero's may not stand so tall anymore, but rather would be in the same situation at Ms. Jones.

I suggested to our athletic director, Bill Martin, when he was head of the USOC that our sport would need to dump all the old records, set new distances and start over. And like you said, develop the sport based on exciting competition, not world records.

Have a great vacation.

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