Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gay and Powell leave athletics in gutter

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

Tyson Gay (left) sprints past Justin Gatland at last month's US Outdoor Track & Field finals
Tyson Gay (left) sprints past Justin Gatland at last month's US Outdoor Track & Field finals

So can we all now accept that sprinting at the highest level is largely a battle of science rather than sport?

Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson et al – including those who have never been or have yet to be caught – will all go down as men who cheated the public and went a long way to leaving athletics in the gutter.

Last year's London Olympics was rightly hailed as a great sporting spectacle but in light of the recent positive drug tests you do have to wonder just how sporting it really was.

Of course you have to feel sympathy for those who are clean and one top athlete spoke to me recently about his anger that everyone was being treated with suspicion. Sadly, these latest failed tests have all-but put the final nail in the coffin of sprinting.

Who can ever watch a 100m or 200m final at the Olympics or World championships and feel assured that everybody in the field is clean? That's why I'll not be watching such finals at the upcoming World championships in Moscow and every armchair sports fan should do the same, not to mention those who have tickets for the event.

The sprint events, many of the field events – and who knows how far this stain has spread – have been sullied to the point where it's just a waste of time to accept them as true sporting disciplines. The cheats have won.

So, don't watch the sprints, instead like me view a re-run of Andy Murray's Wimbledon triumph – a true sporting hero.