Athletics : Coe's criticism of Gatlin's victory inhumane

Lynette Rowe
August 12, 2017

"I'm not just saying that as the president of the world sport, I'm saying this as a fan". Sadly though, he was stripped of one his Olympic gold medals after teammate Nesta Carter was found guilty of doping at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Think of those athletes who have done everything clean, but missed out. "Once a cheater, always a cheater", she told me in 2011 when we worked on her biography.

Sir Mo Farah, left, with the Hon. The persistent drizzle of accusations about Salazar and his relationship with the controversial Somali coach Jama Aden, as well as the leak of some of his athlete biological passport data by the Russian hackers Fancy Bears, have made him more watchful and less carefree - at least in public.

Prior to the Bolt era, Gatlin was considered the fastest man in the world during the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and won a gold medal in the 100m dash.

Where is the hypocrisy in that statement?

The list of shame is star studded. This is a world filled with intrigue, drama and often great pain as many competitors from around the world see their dreams dashed at the very first hurdle. "I will train hard and I will break the national record", Lakshmanan said after the race. His sentence was reduced to six months on appeal.

By quirks of British inventiveness (Danny Boyle's pseudo-historical romp from Isambard Kingdom Brunel to James Bond); huge Lottery investment in sport; and good fortune (barely a drop of rain), it all came together and Britain felt as good about itself as it had for many decades.

I can't be convinced though, and believe lifetime bans are needed.

But let's not accuse Jamaica of being in any way the only country big on drug hypocrisy.

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He now has five European outdoor golds and two European indoor crowns. "We didn't educate people about all the drugs cheats and have presented him (Gatlin) as a villain".

Hypocrisy? Through the roof.

Doping offences deserve life bans no matter what creative excuses superfit humans come up with for taking cough medicine or unwittingly having a dodgy cream shoved on your backside. Gatlin failed to prove his case, but we should note that this is a unusual kind of justice: He had to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he was innocent rather than the other way around.

Lewis' response in 2003? I can't think, other than Muhammad Ali, of anybody that has so had an impact inside or beyond their sport.

Sadly I think some of the same sort of public relations may be in play with the current ban by the IAAF on Russian Federation. Bolt still has one race to go.

The crowd's dissatisfaction was less audible when Gatlin stepped on top of the podium to collect his medal, but some fans did make their displeasure known. His long legs enabled him to cover distances with only a few strides.

Then came the move to OR to team up with coach Alberto Salazar and the transformation has been nothing less than spectacular. Farah loves this event because it's run at a faster pace. After all ... athletes have always, and will always, do or take anything that might give them a competitive advantage.

Clamping down on drugs in athletics shouldn't a beauty contest. But it isn't going to be easy in the 5k.

Should we also have a niggling worry that popularity may mean the same searchlight doesn't shine as brightly on other parts of the world?

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