BERLIN (GER): The IAAF has asked World and Olympic discus champion Robert Harting to reconsider his withdrawal from the IAAF Athlete of the Year shortlist, report dpa. IAAF spokesman Nick Davies stated, “The IAAF has been in touch with Robert Harting’s manager and asked her (Vera Michallek) to inform Robert that we want him to remain on the list because he is a worthy champion.” Harting told dpa that he is ready to stand for election again, but only if “athletes who have misbehaved are scrapped from this year’s list and are subject of a general nomination ban in the future.” The IAAF are said to be considering such a ban, following a recommendation from the athletes commission.
(Editor’s note: RunBlogRun believes, that if the sport of athletics is to be taken seriously, a well-thought out approach to anti-doping in our sport has to be reconsidered. If it is a fact that past drug use continues to add to the fitness of an athlete, then, two to four year bans make little sense. At the same time, groups used to monitor doping have to be able to have their results reviewed so that they can stand up to legal challenges.
There are no easy answers.
In the end, the sport is belittled and besmirched by accusations, many of them unfounded, because the fog of cynicism surrounds every performance. Potential sponsors, seeing how much our sport eats its young, and how much social media time is spent on suggesting this or that athlete is a druggie, should run, not walk, away from the sport.
Until the sport unites around one method of globally fighting doping, it will not be successful.
How is this accomplished? By educating young athletes about sports ethics, and how athletics fits into a well rounded life and society. With a drug testing program and protocols that are both peer reviewed and can stand up to rigorous legal testing. And finally, to bans that are so draconian and spiteful that the price paid for cheating just does not make sense, to anyone involved.
Managers, athletes, coaches, fans, officials and federations have much to lose if the sport continues to be critiqued as it is today. Much of it is unfair, but that does not matter in a media world that is on twenty four hours a day.
I dream of a day when ESPN actually has one story a day on a track athlete or road racer. I do believe that I will live to see such a day.
RunBlogRun encourages the IAAF to consider banning athletes who have had drug positives to be ruled ineligible from post season awards, and nominations. )