So far the first half of the Diamond Leagues Series and other grand prix races have lived up to expectations.
Post-doping era, track and field was supposed to be lifeless. Sort of like baked chicken with no seasonings - bland. The mainstream media has long written off the sport or at least will not write about the sport unless there is a drug scandal involved.
The bad press to the sport was a self-inflicted wound that was somewhat deserved. During the last decade a parade of athletes were found guilty of doping. The sport became the running joke of late night television fueled by ESPN reports that broke into programming to announce to deliver the news.
With a major international championship, 2010 was written off by some.
But the competition within the sport as it must goes on and it does. David Oliver has rebounded from an injury plagued 2009 season to not only break the American Record once, but twice. Almost immediately Kara Patterson became a household name among avoid fans after crushing the American Record in the javelin. Oh, and Chaunte Howard Lowe has emerged to break her own American Record in the high jump not once but twice while also finding time to dabble in the long jump this season.
The compelling force behind track and field is the athlete’s story - the most important ingredient. Their journey. Their toil. Their condition behind the wins, defeats, and records. The story is what the community wants to hear about. And we must never forget that athletes are center stage.
Press Release by USA Track and Field
Indianpolis (April 22) - “We understand that Mr. Merritt’s case is still ongoing with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and USATF awaits USADA’s decision on the case. Any professional athlete in this sport knows that they are solely responsible for anything that goes into their bodies.
For Mr. Merritt to claim inadvertent use of a banned substance due to the ingestion of over-the-counter supplements brings shame to himself and his teammates. Thanks to his selfish actions, he has done damage to our efforts to fight the plague of performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.
“Mr. Merritt has been an integral part of Team USA and the sport in this country. He has now put his entire career under a cloud and in the process made himself the object of jokes. In this day and age, a professional athlete should know better. Personally, I am disgusted by this entire episode.”
November 17, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Tim Montgomery has fallen far from the days when he was once riding high as the 100-meter world record holder (9.78). Things quickly began to unravel after that race. The world record was erased from the record book in light of doping charges.
It will quickly go one way or the other. Either Montgomery will share some real honesty or he will be there singing the same song of lies and deception as he sits down with HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.
Although he never tested positive for a banned substance, Montgomery was implicated in the U.S. investigation into Bay-Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), near San Francisco.
He later testified about taking performance enhancing drugs during the BALCO trial.
Montgomery, was convicted in a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, VA., of conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, and distribution of more than 100 grams of heroin. He received the minimum sentence for the crimes.
“I was blind. I never had a job in my life,” Montgomery told U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman. “I did the wrong thing.”
The sentence will not run concurrent to the 46 months he was given in a New York federal court after pleading guilty in 2007 to conspiracy in a bank fraud and money laundering plot.
The interview will air when Real Sports returns on November 25, 2008 at 10pm ET/PT.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.
November 1, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Her interview shed light on a selfish individual, who for whatever reason is still holding back on the details related to her fall in the sport.
It seems as though there is much more to the story, but at this point, who really cares?
Her actions have had far reaching impact that she did not foresee. Marion participated in doping and as a result her 400 and 1,600-meter relay teammates from Sydney were stripped of their medals, even though they played by the rules.
The blow back of her selfish actions hit the sport, which was left with a diminished reputation and bank account. Simply put, Jones cost the sport money while at the same time effectively reducing the career earning potential of countless athletes that had nothing to do with her.
At every chance, the media takes aim at Marion Jones, as an example of all that is wrong with track and field.
With that, there is also some good. Despite her best attempts, Jones did not succeed at bringing down the sport. Last year the grand prix meets were still held, and the U.S. Olympic Trials and Beijing Games were run despite her actions. Marion Jones is not and will never be larger than the sport.
The time to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth has passed. Jones is probably still lying albeit maybe only to herself these days. She will never run in the sport again-it’s over. It is time that everyone acknowledges this fact.
We hope this is the last time that we have to talk about Jones. The sport has moved on past the Marion Jones era because she is no longer relevent to the todays events in track and field.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.
October 29, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
A quick review of the previous guests, we see that the Queen of Television has interviewed stars from Madonna to Jennifer Anistron, so why not Marion Jones?
The point is that Oprah brings her moneymaking and star power in everything that she does and all those big names that featured as guests on the talk show had nothing to lose from it. To the contrary, one might say. In the light of all this, no one could possibly blame Jones for wanting to be on Oprah’s show.
What is next for the fallen star? Marion will probably embark on writing a book and then hit the road on a speaking tour to tell kids how to not ruin your life?
The trouble-prone former Olympian is said to appear on Wednesdays episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”in no doubt to clear her name of all the negative attributes that have accompanied the six month jail term after denying for lying about previous drug use.
Jones’s tell-all interview on Wednesday’s episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is to be her first interview since she was released September 5 from a Texas federal prison after completing most of her six-month sentence for lying about steroid use.
The sprinter admitted last October that she used a designer steroid known as “the clear” from September 2000 to July 2001. Her admission came after years of denials. Marion is on probation and had to get permission to appear on the show, which devoted its full hour to the interview.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.com.
October 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
The National Football League is a prolific money maker. It generates millions in revenues, sells millions more in apparel, and most every form of media benefits from the top professional sport.
Listening to the mainstream media would lead one to believe track and field is full of drug cheats, and that NFL is squeaky clean.
The dirty little secret is that the NFL most certainly has a performance drug problem so big that it that makes Sarah Palin look competent.
The league’s linebackers weigh a whopping 270 pounds and nearly all run close to 4.5 in the 40-yard run.
Denver’s FOX-31 dropped a bomb shell that Deuce McCalister and Will Smith of New Orleans are reportedly tested positive under the NFL’s steroid policy as a result of taking water pills to lose weight, according to a report from Fox 31-Denver reporter Josina Anderson.
He reportedly said, “There are about six to ten overall positive tests. Three to four of them are from the Saints organization alone including McAllister and Smith.
When used as a masking agent a diuretic dilutes the urine, which results in lower levels of the banned substance being excreted from the body. That can make it more difficult to detect banned substances.
The NFL boasts of its drug-testing program that nets a few players here and there. Sure, those offensive lineman are blowing up to 350 pounds on eating right and lifting weights. Right. That’s believable.
The NFL drug testing policy is soft and been criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but the league has rejected any talk of meeting WADA standards.
But there have been clear signs of a drug problem. Some recall the 2006 federal conviction of Dr. James Shortt, who supplied the steroid and human growth hormone prescription to four players of Carolina Panthers.
One of these players was punter Todd Sauerbrun, who was taking steroids. The punter had obtained syringes and injectable Stanozolol, the same chemical Ben Johnson used before the 1988 Olympics. If a punter is taking steroids, common sense tells us that others are using as well.
Cut Track and field some slack, as it has a comprehensive drug testing program and the worlds toughest penalties. The sport is ahead of the curve on the drug issue compared to the likes of the NFL.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.
October 23, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Former coach Trevor Graham has been sentenced to a year of house arrest and five years probation for lying during the BALCO doping investigation.
Is the sentence fair? Sure. The Jamaica-born coach was not convicted of steroid distribution but he knowingly concealed doping activities.
Coaches have a significant influence on the lives of young athletes. The judge went to great pains to give the proper sentence without going over board.
I am no Trevor Graham sympathizer.
But is there a conspiracy? After the Mitchell Report and confirmed doping in so many other sports, I find it odd that for the most part individuals connected with track and field are the only ones to see jail time.
Jay Hicks for Prerace Jitters.
June 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
The 100-meter race heard around the world had many across the globe in utter amazement. It seemed magical as soon as Usain bolted out of the blocks that something special was in the works.
But a recentNew York Times piece discusses the nagging doubts still present about track and field from the past doping days and doubts about Usain Bolt’s performance. I understand why fans are skeptical to believe that the performance was clean.
How does the sport mend the fences with fans? For starters the country’s sports federation is currently without a commander-in-chief, which always makes the prospect of making up ground that more difficult. But, if a crisis consultant hasn’t been put on speed dial by the sports federation then there is quite a bit of work to be done.
A representative of the sports federation needs to do what every fallen figure or organization has done - go on Larry King, Oprah, Ellen, and a few other known television shows to cry their eyes out, apologize to fan, and ask for fans to return to the sport. They should lay out the steps the federation is doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
The federation can say “we too were duped and here is how we are moving on.” But to do nothing to actively address the public image problem is not an option. This sports status is far from business as usual—something must be done to court the dubious fan back to track and field.
Just so we are all clear here, it was individuals that engaged in sports doping, cheating, and lying for personal gain—not the sports federations.
By Jay Hicks.
May 21, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Everyone knew going in the Trevor Graham trial that it was going to be a public relations train wreck and a major distraction at the very least. And so far the trial has lived up to those expectations.
At the Adidas Track Classic press conference last Thursday, the reporters asked what seemed like an endless number of questions on doping in the sports. So far, there have not been any courtroom theatrics, and let’s hope it stays that way.
Marion Jones’ husband injecting her with banned drugs. Tim Montgomery going into Mexico with an admitted steroids dealer to test his blood for drugs. Antonio Pettigrew routinely receiving overnight packages stuffed with the oxygen-boosting drug EPO.
Graham is charged with three counts of lying to federal authorities investigating a massive sports doping ring centered at the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, in Burlingame, California.
Yeah, yeah. We know all of these sordid details already. Oh—and the government’s witnesses have accused the former coach of many great sprinters from the 90s and early 2000s of lying about knowledge of the drug game. While this is all shocking, for now track fans can hope for a speedy trial.
Is there a smoking gun? With just three months before the Olympic Games, let’s hope not. But the honest answer is that we will have to wait and see.
By Jay Hicks.
November 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
At the age of 32, this ruling spells the end of her career.
Unfortunately, the check is not in the mail because Marion is reportedly bankrupt. The lesson to be learned is that cheaters are severely punished in track & field. Dopers do so at their own peril!