22 hours ago
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
QUESTIONS ARE NOT RACIST
Since the Rome Olympics 1994 we have had better drug testing and the WADA to enforce abuses. But there were long periods when the Chinese were dominating track and swimming and then turning up positive for steroid use after the games. Striping an athlete/country of medals after the fact is a way to deal with it - but I think it takes away from watching the games knowing that some of the winners will later be disqualified. It ruins the purity of the experience.
Now we have a young Chinese woman, Ye Shiwen, 16, swimming the last leg of a 400m race at a speed greater than a record holding male swimmer. So eyebrows are raised, questions are being asked and the Olympic committee and others are calling it racist. That's ridiculous. If the Chinese have a history of drug use - one that extends to just 10 years ago, and they have a young woman swimming faster than a seasoned male swimmer, the system should kick in.
The chairman of the IOC medical commission and WADA vice-president Arne Ljungqvist, was quoted as saying that if a surprise performance is immediately suspected as being a cheat, that "sport is in danger for sure." He - and several of his IOC colleagues - are worried about the "charm of competitive sport" being lost if exceptional performances are shrouded in suspicion.
I don't disagree in my heart, but the sad truth is that these cheats tend to go on for years before the questions are answered. If we don't ask the questions, well that's the real danger to sports and the athletes.