This morning I ran by a man that was wearing a Live Strong shirt , the slogan from the defamed Lance Armstrong foundation. My blood started to boil, and I would have given anything to have a stamp in my hand to add a “and Cheat” to that shirt. Then when I got home, I wrangled Livy into bed and checked Twitter before jumping in the shower. Another ban, and this time the female gold medalist in the 2012 Olympic Games from Turkey. I can’t remember her name and frankly, I don’t give a shit about remembering it.
It’s taken about 15 years, but drugs are finally in the forefront of track and field. Sadly, when I got into this, I had no idea they were so prevalent here and abroad. Well, about 3 weeks ago, someone leaked the fact that the International Associated Association of Athletics Foundation had not reported dozens of suspicious tests dating back to the 2007. Slowly, people are getting stripped of medals and others handed new ones.
It’s heart-breaking to me to have this happen to a sport I love so much, but it’s high time things blow up and new penalties are established. I’m for life-time bans for first offenses. Hell, when you are talking about stealing large sums of money at the international level, I say there should be some jail time and lawsuits to try and return money to the rightful owners.
I just want to ask these people that cheated, “Was it worth it? Was the fame and glory you had for 5, even 10 years worth it, just to end up with nothing- not even your reputation in the end?” Surely, the answer would be “No.” God, I hope it is. I cannot even fathom having to tell my family and my children that my entire life and career had been a lie.
I have one bronze medal from the Pan-American Games, and several medals as part of a USA Cross Country Team, but I can tell you that standing on the podium in full USA gear is special beyond words. Often Quin wants “that baseball” song at night, meaning he wants me to sing him the “Star Spangle Banner.” Well, it isn’t pretty, but I happily sing it because it means so much to me. I am so sad that these podium moments have been stolen from clean athletes, and that many of my friends have been kept off of Olympic Teams by cheaters.
It’s not until the punishment fits the crime that things will stop. I hope the fear of having blood samples be re-tested will help deter people from cheating in a small way. The only solace I have in all this is realizing that these people are just not head and shoulders better than me genetically. They are not superior, they are just taking drugs that make them super-human for training and racing. Shame on them. Shame on those that help them cheat. You’ve taken a beautiful simple thing and destroyed it.