Paula Radcliffe-a clean athlete in a muddy world, for

We are in a crazy time in our sport.

In an effort to clean up the excesses and actual problem with cheating in our sport, the level of cynicism has become so resolute that anyone and everyone who has had a magnifiscent performance is suspect.

I believe that the feeding frenzy is such that common sense has gone out the window. The Parlimentary hearing is a case in point. Many in the room still do not get it. Proper analysis of drug tests is not something one learns in high school chemistry. There are too many variables. And, the media is playing with personal rights issues, which European law and US law rightly protect.

Can cheats be caught without resorting to blaming everyone? Yes. It requires money and an independent agency that does not play the media game. Too much of this recent issue smells of a power struggle in global sports.

Paula Radcliffe had the perfect storm. After bravely challenging most of the world’s best over cross country, 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, and coming short, she moved to the marathon. The Jim Peters of women’s marathon running, Paula Radcliffe’s brilliant world records came at a huge price.

Her 2:15.25 was the perfect storm. Her fitness level was a 30:00 minute 10k. Her training was perfection, pace was perfect and her focus was thorough. Racliffe got more out of her body then, and has never, ever, come close to that level of shape again.

The injuries, the desire to finish Olympic events have all been written about. Like Bob Beamon, Paula Radcliffe had that moment of perfection that we all dream about, and few achieve.

Here is Mike Rowbottom’s thoughtful piece on Paula Radcliffe.

Mike Rowbottom: Paula Radcliffe – a clean athlete in a muddy world

There is a cruel irony in the fact that an investigation alleging widespread doping abuse in athletics, prompted at least in part by laudable motives, should have turned into a story about an athlete who is innocent of any such charge.

Paula Radcliffe is a clean athlete. Having followed her and written about her throughout the bulk of her long and increasingly illustrious career, that is what I have always believed, and nothing I have seen or heard since the investigations publicised in recent weeks by ARD TVand the Sunday Times has convinced me to doubt it.

Paula Radcliffe en route to her final London Marathon as an elite athlete in April this year ©Getty Images
Paula Radcliffe during her final London Marathon as an elite athlete in April this year ©Getty Images

The most eloquent testimony in her defence is her own statement – pained, painstaking – in which she addresses the detail of the smeary mess of allegation against her and refutes it convincingly.

As she says in her statement: “WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) themselves have again investigated following the recent articles. I understand the team from WADA found nothing and I fully expect that once the Independent Committee publish their report I will again be found to have no case to answer.”

As I understand it, while rumours that the “household name” implicated by the Sunday Times was Paula Radcliffe were circulating, the WADA team were asked to put one analysis to the top of their list, and have clearly done so.

To read the entire story, please go to:

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