I see it as a huge positive that the IAAF is testing and has found six athletes from 2005 who cheated. That means that, with modern testing methods, that they are catch a few more cheaters, but, more than likely, cheating was at a lower level than some might have suspected.
The recent news on athletes such as Suzy Favor Hamilton, Lance Armstrong, and Oscar Pistorius has put sports on a crisis to crisis watch. Truth be told, track & field and road running have, perhaps years after they should have, become two of the toughest disciplines in global sports on drug testing as an effective method to slow down drug cheats. And our sport, for the most part, has a lower number of complete idiots, who do not understand that the benefits of being a top athlete comes with some responsibilities. Those responsibilities include not making a complete ass of oneself and one's profession in the global media.
My biggest fear is that drug testing is not and will never be enough. Soon, gene manipulation will be more price advantageous: when such Frankensteinian methods become cheaper, groups and countries will be tempted to use them. The key is, in the end, a sense of ethics. There is right and wrong in sports, and in life. One has to look oneself in the mirror and see what kind of person one truly is.
Besides drug use in sports, conduct by athletes in sports, especially some sports such as American football, baseball and basketball, has become a daily issue. I do remember the Athletic Director at my university reminding me how lucky we were to compete and that we should behave at a higher standard, and live by that higher standard.
Most elite track athletes do live and project a higher standard. I have watched athletes such as Usain Bolt spend over an hour signing autographs and taking pictures at track meets. I truly enjoy watching athletes such as Tyson Gay send twitter responses to his fans. Bianca Knight is another example of an athlete who keeps her fans close, with nice notes.
There were a few elite athletes in our sport in the recent past, who felt that if they were not a bit rude, late for press conferences, and declining signing autographs for young fans, they would not make it to the level of pro sports such as football. They actually believed that being a jerk would be more visible and meant that, they, the they would stand out more. They were wrong.
Track & field has some of the best athletes in all of sports. They give back to their sports and their communities. At the end of the day, it is not your time, or distance, but how you treat those around you, and how ethically you compete, that matters.
Blocks, photo courtesy of Brooks Running
FINDINGS FOR 6 ATHLETES FROM 2005 WORLDS
MONACO (MON): The IAAF has re-tested a selection of doping samples collected at the 2005 IAAF World Championships, Helsinki, from a wide range of disciplines and nations, and the results have revealed a further six adverse findings. The IAAF, as part of its strategic anti-doping policy, instigated last year the re-analysis of samples originally taken during Helsinki 2005 using the most up-to-date analytical techniques. These samples had been transferred to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland following the World Championships for long-term storage in accordance with the IAAF retesting policy. The six adverse findings involves four Belarus athletes, shot putters Andrei Mikhnevich, Nadezhda Ostapchuk and hammer throwers Ivan Tikhon with Vadim Devyatovskiy and two Russians long jumper Tatyana Kotova and hammer thrower Olga Kuzenkova. The IAAF will not make any further comment until the completion of investigation proceedings of this cases.
KYIV (UKR): Ukraine announced 16 athletes as preliminary team for the European Cup Winter Throwing. That means the participation of all full teams: men and women in senior and U23 categories. Women squad will lead by reigning European champion in javelin Vira Rebryk and world junior 2010 finalist Hanna Khabina in the U23 section. The strongest in the men group will be world youth and junior record holder in discus throw Mykyta Nesterenko who is just picking up the shape after knee's surgeries. All the team: shot put - Andrii Semenov, Mykola Bagach, Halyna Obleshchuk, Olha Holodna, discus - Oleksiy Semenov, Nataliya Semenova, Yuliya Kurylo, javelin - Oleksandr Nechyporuk, Mykola Shama, hammer - Serhii Reheda, Dmytro Mykolaichuk, Alyona Shamotina, Iryna Klymets. Discus throw European junior medalist 2011 Viktoriya Klochko is in reserve.
FAYETTEVILLE (USA): Scottish miler Chris O´Hare is competing as title defender and College indoor record holder over the mile at the NCAA Championships. He plans to redshirt the outdoor season so he can qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August. Under coaches Steve and Taylor Gulley at the University of Tulsa, he plans to run 1500m races at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford in April, then the USATF High Performance Meet at Occidental College in May to hit the 3:35.00 IAAF „A" standard for the meet. Then, he'll come back to Tulsa for cross country in the fall, skip NCAA indoors--although he could run at the IAAF World Indoor Championships if selected--then finish his NCAA career outdoors. Informs Race Results Weekly.
NAGOYA (JPN): IAAF writes the big question from international point of view at the 2013 Nagoya Women's Marathon will be can Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane finally fulfil her potential over the classic distance? Her best so far is 2:26:15. The fastest overseas runner in the field is Kenyan Georgina Rono, who recorded 2:21:39 in the 2012 Frankfurt Marathon. But from Japanese point of view the race will be the final domestic qualifying race for the 2013 World Championships, and thus the competition will be fierce. Including 2004 Olympic marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi. Brett Larner informs about the withdrawal of 2012 Osaka winner Risa Shigetomo with injury.
JOHANNESBURG (RSA): An independent tribunal into allegations against Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans will be held, ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala said on Friday. He said this would happen regardless of the outcome of a vote by ASA council members to impeach him at a special general meeting (SGM) in Johannesburg on Saturday.
NAIROBI (KEN): Athletics Kenya has deferred their first AK/NBK Weekend Meeting that was to get underway on Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium to next week. The two-day meet was postponed due to the unavailability of the venue and will now be now held March 15 to 16 at the same venue. Nyayo National Stadium is being used as tallying centre by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Meanwhile, the national team for World Cross Country Championships stepped up their training in Kigari, Embu a day after reporting back. The team broke camp last Friday to enable athletes participate in the March 4 General Election. Among the runners is the new inclusion in junior men's 8 km team, Michael Bett, who was placed seventh at the National Cross Country Championships. Bett has replaced Bernard Kipkemoi, who finished fifth during the national trials. Kipkemoi was dropped from the team over what AK termed as unavoidable technicalities. The Nation informs.
LONDON (GBR): Latest Pat Butcher blog at www.globerunner.org: Gaza Stripped.
DEN HAAG (NED): Michel Butter and Khalid Choukoud are the main Dutch athletes set to compete at this sunday's CPC half marathon of Den Haag. Choukoud, running in his home town, has targeted the half marathon as one of his main goals for this season and is confident he could improve on his personal best of 1:02.53. On the new and improved course, which is faster than last year, organizers hope to see some very fast times by a field that includes eleven Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes. The only athlete to have run faster than one hour is Kenyan Ezekiel Chebii.
BRUSSELS (BEL): Last year winner of the Gotzis combined event meeting and olympic fourth placer Hans Van Alphen will not be able to return to the Austrian city to defend his title this year. Van Alphen ruptured the ligaments in his right foot when training for the pole vault and will receive end of this week. Belgian media report it is already the third setback for the athlete in recent weeks as he also tore the medial ligament in his knee and came down with the flue. Van Alphen should be back in action for the IAAF World championships in Moscow confirmed his coach Wim Vandeven.
BUCURESTI (ROU): Two more names confirmed their bid to run for the presidency of the Romanian Athletics Federation. After olympic winner Gabriela Szabo also former sprinter Ion Sandu and former federation general secretary Traian Badea. The elections will be held on April 5.
NOMI (JPN): The Japanese City will stage on Sunday the Asian 20 km Walk Championships. Home favorites will be Yusuke Suzuki and Kumi Otoshi. China is not sending the top class, in the start list Li Tianfei for the men race and Jing Zhao for the women. Strong groups are entered also from India and Korea.
MOSCOW (RUS): High jump European junior champion, winner of first Youth Olympics and World Junior indoor record holder Mariya Kuchina had to finish her indoor season 2013 at the beginning of January because of surgery. 20-year-old Russian informed about details for All Sport news agency. "I had profound medical checkup in Moscow and doctor has detected a rupture on my right eye. I had no time to determinate the cause of such damage and preferred to solve the problem immediately. I was operated on January 14 on my Birthday. Surgery was very quick and successful but I needed one month break from any practice." After medical re-examination in February Kuchina resumed training sessions and is now going to Sochi training camp from March 13 where she plans to start serious preparation for summer season.
BAD OEYNHAUSEN (GER, Mar 8): First day of special pole vault indoor meet saw Katharina Bauer winning the women competition with 440 clearance. She nearly then cleared her best of 451. Second Denmark record holder Caroline Bonde Holm with 430. Fourth in a tie Annika Roloff and Ireland´s record holder Tori Pena, both 420 cm. In total 3000 spectators at the event in a Shopping Center. Men with olympic medalist Bjorn Otto will jump on Saturday.
NANJING (CHN, Mar 7): To add to the Chinese National Indoor Grand Prix meet that Wang Rong whon won with 14.09 the triple jump achieved at age of 16 new World Youth Indoor best. The previous mark 13.82 was by Yevgeniya Stavchanska of Ukraine achieved in 1998 in Kyiv. Informs Michel Saint-Raymond.