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A question about Ben Plucknett's American Record


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  • A question about Ben Plucknett's American Record

    Something I was curious about, concerning Ben Plucknett's American record (237-4). At the time, the throw was the world record, until the IAAF nullified it due his doping violation.

    How come the throw is still recognized as the American record, if track's governing body nullified it? Can I assume I am missing part of the story?


  • #2
    IAAF has no control over what its member nations want to call national records (nor should it).

    The Plucknett DQ came in the very early days of drug adjudication and USATF (TAC) didn't see eye-to-eye on IAAF procedures. For one thing, the positive A-sample wasn't reported to the U.S. by the IAAF for something like 4-5 months, and it was about 6 months before the B-sample was finally tested.

    Not sure, but I think USATF may also have taken the stance in those days that since he didn't have a positive test at the meet in question, it was ratifiable.

    The T&FN coverage of the '81 USATF Convention noted that his 233-7 from Modesto, which had been denied WR status by IAAF, had been ratified. It did not say the same about the Stockholm mark, but I'm guessing they applied the same logic. (or lack thereof)


    • #3
      My recollection was that at the time, he had not been suspended domestically. The rules were different then from what they are today, and IIRC, IAAF and TAC rules were not in synch as they are today.


      • #4
        There is no question that under today's rules the mark would not be ratified.


        • #5
          Under today's rules, I suspect he would have not been able to compete in the meet where he set the mark.


          • #6
            Thanks for the clarification, it makes more sense now.

            When I first read the story, it said that he originally broke the WR in May of '81 and then again in July. But the IAAF came forward to say he failed a test in January? That seemed very odd, indeed.

            What kind of fight did he put up, and what was his attitude when he came back? Was there a feeling of being "singled out"?


            • #7
              He put up a massive legal battle that lasted a long time.

              And in the small-world department, a woman I married a few years later was by then working as a paralegal for his lawyer. (And Ben and I also had the same orthopaedic surgeon.)