After American Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell, the second and fourth fastest men of all time, admitted to testing positive for banned substances, there was plenty of soul searching in the sport.
Questions arose: Is it time to wave the white flag in a race that never seems to be won? Has track and field reached its tipping point?
Doug Logan, the former CEO of USA Track and Field, said sports organizations should give up the fight against performance enhancing drugs. “We will continue to have sad days like today over and over again. Unless we rethink this,” Logan told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday.
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Ato Boldon’s stance was a bit softer, but also bold. The former world champion said stimulants should be legalized but the hard stuff – steroids, human growth hormone and blood doping – should remain banned.
“It’s not even bleeding anymore,” said Boldon, one of the most respected voices in his sport. “We have to get out the paddles because we have to be resuscitated now.”
Logan spent two years on the other side of the fence battling drug cheats as the head of the sport’s national governing body.
“I know my point of view is way in the minority and it comes after a significant amount of thought to the topic and I think it’s time for us to make changes and different solutions,” Logan said. “Laws that can’t be enforced shouldn’t be on the books. These substances which we as a sport are trying to regulate, we’re doing a poor job of it and we’re not preventing motivated young men and women from going ahead and using when they chose to.”
Logan expressed his point of view last month for SpeedEndurance.com. “Leave the regulation of drugs to governments and their law enforcement auspices,” he wrote.
Boldon doesn’t think the sport should open the floodgates, but it should legalize some of the stimulants and supplements on the banned list because “everyone is already on it. It’s a question of who’s getting away with it and who isn’t.”
Boldon said the culture of the sport needs to be changed. “There is a distrust in this sport that the person I’m competing against is doing something so I have to continue to push the envelope,” he said. Athletes know they will get caught if they take the serious substances – steroids, hormones, blood doping – so they use something less effective, like a stimulant, even though it’s also banned, Boldon said.
“Some of these things these guys are getting popped for, it’s like, really? It’s a stimulant,” he said. “The person I’m competing against is doing something so someone comes to me and gives me something that’s really close to being legal, and everyone feels like this is how I keep my competitive edge.”
Gay, the American 100-meter record holder, didn’t say what drug he tested positive for. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Gay of the positive test Friday while he was training at his team’s camp in Amsterdam preparing for next month’s world championships, his coach Lance Brauman told USA TODAY Sports. The positive test came from a May 16 out-of-competition test.
“He trusted somebody and it proved to be a mistake,” Brauman said. The coach, who said he could not name this person, added that “this person or people that he put his trust into had no affiliation with me or anyone else in my training group.”
Powell and teammate Sherone Simpson tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine, according to the AP. In a statement Powell said he never knowingly or willfully took any banned supplement or substances.
Still, when the public hears an athlete tested positive, they assume it’s steroids, Boldon said. “We can sit and cry and moan and sulk or say, ‘OK how best can we move forward so we’re not here again?’ If people continue to bury their heads in the sand this is going to continue to happen.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2013/07/14/track-fight-against-doping-tyson-gay/2516727/Social tagging: anabolic steroids > banned substances > cheat > doping > drugs > track and field