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Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

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  • Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

    Why is track and field treated so harsh when it comes to doping scandals while the NFL, and in particular MLB avoid getting a black eye. Major Leauge Baseball's drug testing policy is a joke! None of the major stars in MLB will ever be randomly chosen to be tested. Track and field will test and convict even it's biggest stars (Dwain Chambers, Kelly White) and yet our sport is continually bashed by the media for its tolerance of doping. Those in the major media do not want to tarnish MLB because it is still pure to them, it is a sport they grew up watching. Also none of the major media outlets or sponsors care if track is tarnished by doping because it does not generate the revenue that The NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA do. Sure track has problems with doping but it is the one sport that is proactive about catching the cheaters.

  • #2
    Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

    Don't know whether this thread should go in the drug forum or not.

    Agreed that track only gets coverage when something bad happens.

    However, I disagree that other sports don't get negative coverage. For example, Sports Illustrated did a huge story earlier this year about steroids in baseball. And there are obviously tons of stories all the time about NFL, NBA and MLB players' off-field transgressions.

    I think the real difference is that other sports get BOTH positive and negative coverage in the mainstream media, whereas track only gets negative coverage.

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    • #3
      Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

      I think the difference between T&F and swimming on one hand and team sports on the other hand is in measurement of the performance. When you have absolute results in seconds, centimeters(inches) or grams (ounces), the concept of cheating becomes clearer than what team sports and non-measurable individual sports provide.
      "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
      by Thomas Henry Huxley

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      • #4
        Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

        You're right. Plus, track has long been burdened with the aura of being "pure" and "above" the fray of normal life. No thinking person is under the delusion that pro baseball or football is somehow loftier or purer than any other part of real life.

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        • #5
          Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

          The structure of professional sports is much different, i.e., the players' union has a collective bargaining agreement and negotiates issues such as drug testing with the owners. Major league baseball will complete its first year of its most recent agreement and there is a clause which permits additional testing if a specific threshold of postitive random tests is surpassed. If I recall, the Cleveland Indians voted as a team to not be tested during spring training, which under the agreement triggered an automatic positive for each member. This was a proactive step by those players to force a more mandatory drug testing program. Many of the players, particularly after the euphedra-related death of the Baltimore Oriole pitcher (name escapes me at the moment) last year, favor testing to root out the guilty and clean up their sport. I would expect that the USATF's request for an all-sports drug summit will be opposed in principle by the players' unions.

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          • #6
            Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

            Well it is unfortunate that the other sports do not treat drug use as Track and Field do, but as a track athlete I am very please that this thing is finally coming out. Personally we should have no tolerance for people who KNOWINGLY try to defraud their fellow competitors. They have no place in the sport. Secondly how could you live with yourself knowing that you have cheated to get ahead and stay ahead of the game. I use to think that drug testing in TandF was joke, but WADA is making me think otherwise. Great job for finding it, now finish by punishing the guilty parties.

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            • #7
              Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

              Blame the USOC, which is basically just a fund-raising organization. They've kept the money rolling into their coffers by painting track athletes as "amateurs" decades after it ceased to be true.

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              • #8
                Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                I thought Harvey Araton put it best in 2000
                when he wrote of Olympic athletes as "disposable
                heroes". The public has very little emotional capital in Olympians, including track athletes, so it is very easy to say "so and so" is cheating and yes, track is dirty and ban them all. But when it comes to team sports people only want their team to win, as the recent affair of the "Cub Fan" in Chicago can attest. When Sammy Sosa was caught with his corked bat this summer there was some preaching about cheating, but it was soon forgotten, and the public only wanted him back after his suspension. And who can forget the complete lack of interest in McGwire and is use of andro?

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                • #9
                  Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                  It seems to me that there is always some kinda negitve battle going on in Track, weather its drug use or not enough money or talk about who's cheating and who's not, I just wish for once people would take a break from bashing the sport, people forget how enjoyable the sport can be, instead of always complaining about pointless crap just try and enjoy it for what it is

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                  • #10
                    Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                    Larwood has it right: Olympic athletes as "disposable heroes." Olympic fame is a distinctly cruel and fickle thing: athletes step into the limelight of "fame" by being athletes, but they can only stay there by then being perceived as something else entirely: as "cute"--that is, warm, fuzzy, glamorous, likable, and telegenic. That's the kind of fame that leads to cereal box covers ($$$) but it has little to do with anything else. Let's try to imagine, say, Paavo Nurmi and Herb Elliott (for starters) being witty and lovable as guest stars on "Jay Leno" or "Friends."

                    The bottom line is that track and field athletes ARE subject by the general public to "unequal persectution" for drug-related news. Why? Because the public cares only about the warm-and-fuzzy ideal of the Olympics (and that only a little)--it does NOT care about track and field itself, nor (with few exceptions) the individual athletes.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                      I have a difficult time understanding how people can sit around and pass judgement on people and their practices without knowing anything about the situation. These athletes are "paid" to do one thing, win. Everything in Track and Field is about winning, not "settling" for the silver. When the popular media shoves this idea down the throat of T&F fans we continue the conditioning of these cheaters.
                      When we start giving props to the athletes who work hard (year round) to advance in the rounds of prelims/quarters/semis or to the athletes who are in the top 10/20 every year, then maybe we can begin to make some headway in stopping this problem. Guess what? Not gonna happen. The media needs scapegoats/hot stories. Fans need heroes. Countries need GOLD medals. All the athlete needs/wants is recognition/respect/money so how can you blame them for becoming blind the closer they come to realizing their goal. Everyone makes mistakes. It could be worse, you could train for four long years in order to make the olympics only to have your chances crushed by getting a cold just before the olympic trials. Thera-flu anyone????

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                      • #12
                        Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                        Thank you WAJ. Finally somenone who has some insight about the world of "amateur" track and field athletes. Yes they do make mistakes, but they do so because they are conditioned to do so. Just like we all are.
                        P.S. The IAAF, USOC and IOC, and USATF need to get their houses in order, because I love this sport and this scandal threatens the purity of all involved ( "cheaters" or not)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                          < Everyone makes mistakes. It could be worse, you could train for four long years in order to make the olympics only to have your chances crushed by getting a cold just before the olympic trials. Thera-flu anyone????>

                          Dawn Fraser at the Tokyo Olympics, 100 m freestyle? She won her third consecutive gold medal in the event with a bad head cold.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Track and Olympic athletes are easy scapegoats

                            POint well taken. One shouldn't misconstrue my quote as saying that athletes can't perform well when ill, but your example is someone who you say won the gold medals in previous years. An upper echelon elite athlete. I am not as concerned with them, I bothers me to see you people trying to break into the scene with a good performance. Someone who has worked hard to achieve something great for themselves, only to have an obstacle placed in their way by something unneccessary. Imagine having to give a sales pitch at a large corporate meeting, but ending up bedridden because Nyquil/Theraflu was considered to have given you an unfair advantage. Not all rules are perfect, this is one of them.

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