The London pack, photo courtesy of London Marathon communications
Will many of the best runners in the world be banned from Rio? With WADA’s decision today, it seems that the days are getting close for Kenya to clean up its act. But, how does that also affect Russia, Ethiopia, and the Rio Olympics? Will the IOC support the good fight or compromise to keep the almighty TV dollars in place?
The BBC has just writtten that WADA has voted that Kenya has continued to be non compliant, surprising some around the world and many in Kenya http://www.bbc.com/sport/
The truth be told, the issue with doping has reach proportions that questions the entire system, both in Kenya and Ethiopia. How will this turn out?
Here is my belief. Finally, WADA, IAAF and IOC realize that doping has gotten out of control. While there are major stars in Kenya that are tested on a very regular basis, many have not. And as running and track and field are a business, the opportunity to make money clouds this for everyone. If one wins a major marathon, gets sponsorship of a footwear brand, and with a modestly good agent, one can see several hundred thousand dollars over the average elite career of three to four years.
Just about two years ago now, I listened to taped conversations of medical professionals allegedly involved in doping in Kenya. It was eye opening. The games played, the rationalizatinzations used, all are the same whereever one goes.
Kudos to WADA for holding up their part of the program. If Kenya is not protecting its finest export: great Kenyan athletes, then, Kenya needs to be reminded that participating in our sport is an opportunity.
But there is one caveat. If WADA is doing this to Kenya, after Russia, how will they respond to Ethiopia and the other countries that it has warned? And how will the IOC respond, as having a RIO olympics without Russia and Kenya track teams will be a TV mess.
Will the almighty dollar win out?
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