The athletic world is in mourning today after the depressing news that two of its poster boys Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay are drug cheats. Following a highly successful weekend for GB athletics with the highlight being James Dasaolu running the second fastest British 100m time in history, we reflect on another painful incident which has provided another body blow to this troubled sport.
So what are the consequences of this pathetic news coming out of the states? Well for a start this means six of the 10 fastest 100m sprinters in history are now tainted with drugs. For a sport that struggles with its credibility at the best of times, this has done the world of athletics no favours at all and any fans it won over at the spectacular 2012 Olympics may well be lost once again. Why would you want a pumped up druggie as your role model?
For the record Gay is the second fastest 100m sprinter in history behind Usain Bolt and Powell the 30-year-old has run under 10 seconds for 100m on 90 occasions.
Now the careers of both are in tatters after positive tests were confirmed at the weekend. And on the eve of the World Championships it leaves athletics battling an image problem akin to cycling – although one should mention we are waiting on the all important B-sample to be returned which offers a glimpse of hope to the already disgraced athletes, although I have to say I would not be holding out much hope!
By extension the outing of Gay, 30, and Powell also tarnishes Bolt, a runner who has never tested positive and who, refreshingly, the good judges in the industry regard as a freak of nature who relies solely on his God-given gifts.
Prior to Bolt’s emergence seven years ago Powell and Gay battled for the title of world’s fastest man, a tag that carries enormous financial rewards.
Following such a good weekend for Great British athletics and no doubt countless numbers of kids wanting to be the new James Dasaolu or Dai Greene, we must hope that our leading athletes at least, can act as suitable and clean role models that future generations can look too.
Unfortunately, it appears all this latest episode has done is turned kids into cynics when they should be displaying wide-eyed wonderment towards their heroes. A very disappointing episode.
So to Gay and Powell, well done, you have just destroyed the dreams of many and ripped your sport apart in the process.
TOP 10 FASTEST MEN IN HISTORY
Name Country Time Drug Use
Usain Bolt Jamaica 9.58 No
Tyson Gay USA 9.69 Yes
Yohan Blake Jamaica 9.69 Yes
Asafa Powell Jamaica 9.72 Yes
Maurice Greene USA 9.78 *
Nesta Carter Jamaica 9.78 No
Justin Gatlin USA 9.79 Yes
Steve Mullings Jamaica 9.80 Yes
Ben Johnson Canada 9.83 Yes
Donovan Bailey Canada 9.84 No
*Drugs usage suspected and alleged but never charged or convicted