Watching Bill Burr‘s hysterical bit on the Conan O’Brien show four years ago when he dissected Oprah‘s big reveal interview with Lance Armstrong – during which the disgraced Tour de France cyclist finally copped to the drug use that everyone had suspected for years – it dawned on me, if Lance was always assumed to be guilty though he passed every drug test, why hasn’t the public made the same assumption about the biggest names in athletics?  Or maybe they have.

I’m not suggesting anything,  just wondering out loud how the public mind works.  (Really,  this is just an excuse to post  Bill Burr’s take on Oprah and Lance, which is funny and insightful at the same time, no easy task.)

So let’s look at the situation with athletics, especially in light of German ARD TV‘s recent investigation alleging the IOC covered up positive Jamaican test results from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where the sprint juggernaut won eleven medals.

First, both cycling and athletics have been awash in performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) for years, to the gills.  And while people all around them get popped, the top guy who produces historic performances continues to sail along testing clean while whooping all the dirty boys.

That was the glory for Lance, right, how the one clean guy who had overcome cancer was able to beat all the drugged up guys. Isn’t that Usain Bolt, minus the cancer?  Or is the difference in public outlook simply a matter of personality? Continue reading


As the NCAA  Indoor Track & Field Championships get under way in College Station, Texas (watch ESPN3  6:30-10pm Eastern Friday) and the New Balance National Indoors are contested at the New York Armory through Sunday, I thought I’d extend the conversation I began earlier this week.

On Tuesday I suggested that track & field build on the marketing momentum generated by the NFL’s Scouting Combine by challenging track and field athletes in the same Combine events – 40 yard dash, vertical jump, and standing broad jump – to show how our sport’s talent stacks up against America’s most popular sport – PIGGY BACKING ON THE NFL COMBINE.

In 2015 UConn corner-back Byron Jones set a broad jump world record at NFL combine at 12′ 3″

Today, I want to amplify on that suggestion by encouraging track to include mimicking the way America’s pro sports break down their games for their fans.  In that sense, let’s begin by deconstructing our events into their component parts by taking splits in the 100 meter dash and other shorter speed races, as well.

Consider, we split the bejezus out of the marathon to make it palatable, every mile, every 5K.  We give the 400m split on the 800, all four 400s in the mile, etc.  If the sport is going to be about clocking speed, then break it down into its component parts with some secondary and even tertiary level granulars to identify the basic elements that lead to these remarkable performances. Continue reading