Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
Athletics is experiencing a very sad time right now as allegations of doping and new stories of alleged/confirmed cheating emerge almost daily. In this past week, a new crisis unfolded as test results were leaked to The Sunday Times and the German broadcaster ARD/WRD. Much like with the recent allegations agains Alberto Salazar and the Oregon Project, many claims about doping were made in a new documentary. In the days since these new allegations came to light, we have seen reactions from coaches such Tony Minichiello, athletes such as Lisa Dobriskey and Eilidh Child, IAAF presidential candidate Lord Coe and, most importantly, the IAAF itself, who branded the allegations”sensationalist and confusing”:
It’s also worth reading Dan Roan’s piece for BBC Sport which covers the story so far, including the main points of the IAAF statement, and raises questions for the future:
I don’t believe we’ve reached the end of this story yet and it saddens me to think that there are probably many more stories/allegations to emerge. As I write this, news is breaking that Liliya Shobukhova, already serving a two year ban following irregularities in her biological passport (the method used to identify athletes who are doping), has now been stripped of her 2010 London Marathon title. Not only that, but the six World Marathon Majors have also reached agreement with the IAAF to carry out an increased number of out of competition tests on athletes taking part in their races. As far as the London Marathon is concerned, those finishing behind Shobukhova have been elevated by one place. Since she was 2nd in 2011, the year I ran the London Marathon, I guess that means I now more up one place to 17724th 😉
In all seriousness though, I can’t imagine what it must be like to to lose out on prize money, prestige and the chance to stand on the podium, all because someone else broke the rules, and I look forward to seeing how the world of athletics responds to this to ensure that the sport is clean.
On a more positive note, I was pleased to see that the initial findings of the UK Athletics review into the Oregon Project found “no evidence of wrongdoing” when it came to Mo Farah. The double Olympic champion has had a hard time recently in the media, no doubt causing a great deal of stress as he prepares to defend his World Championship titles in Beijing later this month. Mo might not always get things quite right when it comes to dealing with the media, but his performances on the track make him the one to beat these days and he’s always exciting to watch.
With so much scandal going on, it might have been easy to miss the news that there’s now just one year to go until the Olympic Games in Rio. There are all the usual worries about soaring costs and venues being ready on time, but as far as the competition itself is concerned, attention is beginning to turn to Team GB’s projected medal haul. No host country has ever gone on to increase its medal tally at the next summer Games, however this aspirational goal is being discussed as a possibility. I love watching the Olympics and there is a great deal of talent in Team GB. It would be a fantastic achievement to win more medals next summer, and just one more reason to ensure that our athletes are clean.
The Running Princess