MOUNTAIN VIEW (USA): Justin Gatlin has been named US Men’s Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. The Diamond League 200m champion came within one vote from a perfect score, heading the top 10 list with 269 points. Diamond League 400m champion LaShawn Merritt was the runner-up with 230 points, while Galen Rupp took 3rd spot on the list with 199 points after a record setting season. The rest of the top 10 were as follows: Trey Hardee (154), Evan Jager (144), Reese Hoffa (143), Christian Taylor (108), Will Claye (68), Mike Rodgers (61) and Meb Keflezighi (42).
(Editor’s note: Justin Gatlin had a wonderful year. He also served a four year ban. In the U.S. especially, our society has a cultural rule, that if one serves their time, then, they should be welcomed back into society.
A four year ban was not a picnic. Gatlin lost money, time and status. That Gatlin has come back, after four years, is a testament to his perseverance and hard work. While, intuitively, it seems that if one used a performance enhancing product in past, it might have some benefits for the rest of one’s career, that, has not been proven.
RunBlogRun believes that the four year ban now in place in IAAF as of January 1, 2015 is the way to go in the future. RunBlogRun also believes that WADA and USADA must get their testing procedures up to current scientific methods if they want to be able to withstand legal challenges.
Finally, RunBlogRun believes that if an athlete has tested positive, after January 1, 2015, and gets a four year ban, the athlete should NEVER be eligible for any post season awards from their federation, IAAF, IOC, and from media. Unless the sport makes punishments for cheating so draconian, so full of shame, but also so air tight, then, anti-doping will remain the festering sore it is in all sports. )