IAAF President Sebastian Coe (Getty Image)
And so it begins, the inevitable PR moon walk by the new IAAF president as he tries to draw back from the cliff of doom that revelations of corruption and greed have brought his organization to as 2015 bleeds into 2016.
Yesterday, IAAF president Sebastian Coe offered a road map for Rebuilding Trust in a press statement released from IAAF headquarters in Monaco. In it Coe commented: “Be under no illusion about how seriously I take these issues.”
Last year at this time I was in Durban, South Africa to give a keynote address at a Global Athletics Conference (GAC 2014). Ato Boldon was the conference emcee, and he opened with “if you love something, you are supposed to be critical of it.” With that in mind, some thoughts on the eventful goings on in this second week of November 2015.
WADA’s scathing report on the systematic drug abuse and perfidy within Russian athletics wasn’t just an indictment of one federation. Coming on the heels of the arrest of former IAAF President Lamine Diack by French authorities for allegedly taking bribes to cover up drug offenses, the WADA Report simply underlined the scope of the moral crisis facing the sport. Continue reading
The build-up to the London Olympics is well underway. On June 9th the reigning 800-meter world record holder David Rudisha of Kenya will make his U.S. debut at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City, the sixth stop on the 2012 Samsung Diamond League tour. During a media teleconference this morning, Rudisha spoke about his dual goals in 2012 of winning the London Olympics and attempting to break his own world record of 1:41.01, set in Rieti, Italy in 2010.
“To run 1:40 is possible,” said the reigning World Champion. “I am planning still to do that because I think I can still go under 1:41, but it’s tough. Any world record is very hard to break it, even if it is your own world record. You need to do some good planning also on how to do it. I am looking forward to that but my plan is the world record will be after the Olympics. I’m keeping my focus, my main concentration to the Olympics, which is the only main title I’m still lacking in my career. I don’t want to take any time or do anything else before I finish that task.”
Interesting how the idea of winning the Olympic title and running a world record have long since been separated into two distinct categories, as if the two were different disciplines altogether. And in many ways they are. But has something been lost in the process? Has the long-time emphasis on running world record times with pacers become so prevalent that the focus on competition between and among carbon-based life forms been diminished along the way? And since that change in focus, has the sport lost some of its appeal to a broader audience when racing was the thing, and the world record was merely the cherry atop the cake of victory? Continue reading