Why the Olympics Can Save Athletics

Athletics has experienced a very turbulent time over the last few years with some of the sports biggest stars being embroiled in scandal and institutionalised doping has also become an issue.

Mo Farah is one of these such stars, the well renowned Nike Oregon Project run by Alberto Salazar came in for criticism regarding doping especially due to Farah’s good track record since he won two gold medals at the London Olympics.

olympicrings

The Olympic Rings.

Russian athletics has been at the centre of the doping scandal, many athletes had been involved in what could be described as the biggest doping scandal of all time.

This summer in Rio de Janeiro, the Olympics has the chance to have a hugely positive impact on the sport.

The IAAF thus far has acted very poorly in dealing with the doping scandal, even since Lord Coe has taken over a number of poor decisions have been made including Coe himself staying as an ambassador for Nike despite the clothing brand continuing to sponsor disgraced two time cheat Justin Gatlin.

Usain Bolt is a very important piece of the puzzle if the Olympics is to save the sport, Bolt so far has been found to be clean of any performance enhancing drugs.

Should Bolt win his events, the 100 metres and 200 metres two events which bring in a high number of spectators and a large sum of money. Bolt has to defeat the likes of Powell, Gay and of course the arch villain Gatlin.

bolt

Usain Bolt has never been found guilty of doping.

If Bolt was found to have taken any such drugs the sport could go to a very dark place. So far clean athletes have been a part of the athletics finals which has kept the sport afloat so far.

The stars of the games have to perform in order for the sport to save some face in Brazil and possibly take one step along what is becoming the ever longer road to redemption for athletics.

Bolt’s Beijing Triumph Shows All Is Not Lost

Athletics has had a tough time with the publicity as of late with drug problems arising left. right and centre. This has always been a problem for the sport a few years ago a hoard of Jamaican athletes were caught out in a random drugs test then came the revelation that Tyson Gay was taking drugs which was followed by the recent Salazar fall out.

Alberto Salazar has been accused of doping many of his athletes including Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp.

Alberto Salazar has been accused of doping many of his athletes including Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp.

This week the World Championships took place in Beijing and two times drugs cheat Justin Gatlin came into the race as favourite and he dominated the heats as Olympic champion Bolt struggled. Tyson Gay was also among the front runners another cheat. Bolt however was unstoppable as he won gold in the final saving some face for the sport. He beat Gatlin to the gold medal by one hundredth of a second and the sport saved some face.

Usain Bolt held off the challenge of Gatlin to claim gold in Beijing 7 years after smashing the world record there.

Usain Bolt held off the challenge of Gatlin to claim gold in Beijing 7 years after smashing the world record there.

This win is huge and not just for the Jamaican runner. Two major drug cheats were in the final today a damning image for a sport that could well be argued to be in crisis. This win for Bolt gives the sport hope that it can recover had one of the American doping cheats Gay or Gatlin won the race the sport would have come under even greater scrutiny and the sport’s reputation brought into greater disrepute.

Another high profile doping cheat is Bolt’s Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell the 2008 World Champion after a championship in Stuggart. The Jamaican runner was tested positive for a banned substance but he vehemently denied having taken the drug knowingly or willingly and his suspension was lifted three months after his initial ban. This does not matter though another high profile runner to have been implicated in drugs abuse.

This win for the world record holder is massive, it gives the sport back some of it’s integrity, his influence on the sport is so profound that this win may be just one medal but with the Rio de Janeiro games only a year away and considering the fanbase of Bolt make this win a hugely positive result for the athlete and the sport in general terms.

The Rio de Janeiro Olympics is only a year away.

The Rio de Janeiro Olympics is only a year away.

The disgusting and frankly abhorrent actions of the doping cheats such as Gatlin and Gay cannot continue to be tolerated both have won multiple championships and become world class athletes. If the IAAF continues to tolerate the use of these not just banned but dangerous substances they could well see a huge drop in the attendance of fans to the major championships like the Olympics, World Championships and Diamond League.

If it were found the likes of Bolt were taking drugs the sport would be broken it would be a sport in crisis. Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake as in my opinion the 2 best sprinters in the world; in fact of all time must stay clean for the good of the sport.

I for one can never tolerate the actions of the doping, cheating athletes that have come to blacken the name of one of the most enthralling athletics events to watch. These doping cheats must be stamped out before drugs become a regular feature if any major athletics avert around the world.

Fantastic Farah Missed Two Doping Tests

Mo Farah, the runner that let this great nation believe the Olympic 10,000 metre champion is one of the greatest athletes in this nation that fateful Saturday that also saw Rutherford and Ennis-Hill win medals in London.

Those two medals won were incredible, but since then Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar has been caught up in a doping scandal and although originally there was little to suggest the British star had been doping it has now emerged the middle distance champion missed two drugs tests prior to his triumph at the Olympic Games in 2012.

Mo Farah following one of his victories at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mo Farah following one of his victories at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The first missed test by the 32 year old was in 2010 the year before he joined Salazar at the Oregon Project. The second test came the year he joined Salazar, the doping agency turned up at Farah’s home and he claims to have missed the test by not hearing the doorbell. Mo Farah seems to have some questions to field following the fallout of the Panorama documentary ‘Catch Me If You Can’ which revealed the findings on Salazar.

Salazar’s most serious doping allegation was related to Farah’s training partner, Galen Rupp who finished 2nd behind Farah in the 10,000 metres at the 2012 games.

Galen Rupp after winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Galen Rupp after winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Farah did earlier this month pull out of a 1500m race in Birmingham due to being “emotionally and physically drained.” He followed this up claiming he was unhappy his name had been dragged through the mud before the missed drugs tests came to light.

It seems odd that Farah has been so defensive about the drugs testing scandal even though his name was not brought up in the documentary or results. The British runner may have to field some pretty tough criticism in the weeks to come relating to both his continued association with Salazar and the missed drugs tests.

Anabolic steroids can be injected or be used orally.

Anabolic steroids can be injected or be used orally.

These findings about the absence at testing prior to the biggest sporting event worldwide may well have wider ramifications for Mo Farah and we are yet to hear the last of the goings on behind closed doors at the Nike Oregon Project.