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.
With the World Championships starting in Beijing this weekend, it’s hardly a surprise that a number of big stories have been hitting the headlines this week.
Of course the biggest story of them all remains that of doping in athletics and there has been no shortage of articles surrounding this ongoing saga. On Sunday, The Sunday Times published the third part of their story alleging widespread doping in athletics, this time with the claim that the IAAF had blocked publication of a doping study, a claim which the IAAF denies. In addition to a further statement from the IAAF, as the days have gone by we have also seen further comment from athletes keen to share their feelings of sadness and frustration at the revelations that have been made, which really brings home the magnitude of this for athletes:
- Leading British Sprinter Says He Faces Unfair Disadvantage As Drug-Free Athlete
- Jenny Meadows Wants Clarification on Bazdyreva After Drug Allegations
- Bolt Saddened By Doping Focus
It was also a difficult time to announce plans for testing at the World Championships. While at first it may seem odd that fewer athletes will be blood tested, core testing for this event has been going on for at least six months and methods have changed since previous Championships. Only time will tell how successful this is.
I’ve also found the following articles useful in explaining a bit more about blood doping and how some athletes seem to have been “getting away with it”:
- What is doping in sport?
- Speed Bumps: Why It’s So Hard To Catch Cheaters in Track and Field
- How Cheats Cheat: Why Dopers Have the Edge in Athletics’ War on Drugs
Amid all this controversy, we also witnessed the election for the new IAAF President, won by Lord Coe. Many household names in the world of athletics seemed to be supporting his bid for the presidency, a role which he will assume during a very difficult period for sport. He will certainly have his work cut out, as explained by The Guardian‘s Sean Ingle ahead of the vote:
With all this in mind, it’s also no surprise that a great deal of attention has turned to the likely showdown between the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt, and Justin Gatlin, who has previously served two suspensions for the use of banned substances. In many ways, this could really force further debate about doping in athletics, and it will be very interesting to see what happens should Gatlin win.
- Bad Guy Tag Does Not Bother Gatlin
- Usain Bolt Faces Justin Gatlin at World Championships 2015 Billed as the Saviour of Athletics
And while doping has featured in each of the stories above, there have been further controversies in the run up to the World Championships. One such story from this week was the unveiling of the Team GB kit, amid criticism from Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford who was not happy about the omission of the Union Jack flag. The inclusion of a flag is not something I’ve particularly considered before, however he does make some interesting points about team identity.
You may also have been following the story of US 800m runner Nick Symmonds who is to miss the Worlds following a row over kit. Brooks-sponsored Symmonds has refused to sign a contract stipulating that whilst in Beijing he could only wear apparel by Team USA kit sponsor Nike. This row raises an intriguing debate about sponsorship, revenue and athletes’ earning potential. This storymay be just the start of that debate.
After all that controversy and debate, I’ll leave you with a far more uplifting story I came across this week. It concerns San Francisco-based runner Neil Taytayan who spent a year putting together a very elaborate way to propose to his girlfriend. Thankfully after one year, over 150 miles and a lot of Instagram photos, she said yes!
The Running Princess