This week Athletics has been damaged beyond recognition as it reels from the findings of drug cheats Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.

Unfortunately most sports have similar stories but should that really affect our view on any of the elite sportsmen and women we support?

Should we really be watching world records and other achievements with such a pessimistic view? Should our heroes need to prove their innocence before we accept them as role models? Should we doubt the terrific achievements of athletes such as Usain Bolt just because of others misdemeanours?

The Tour De France has long since been blighted by drug cheats. Lance Armstrong is a prime example. He still professes his innocence but my own view of him as the greatest cyclist ever has been tainted. I have read all his books and almost literally rode with him as he produced amazing performances after successfully battling cancer. I now feel let down.

Chris Froome is leading the Tour at present but he is constantly battling questions over cheating. I am sure Bradley Wiggins has suffered the same previously. What happened to innocence before being proven guilty and shouldn’t we be celebrating their achievements rather than casting doubt on them.

Horse racing has also had its bad press with the controversy surrounding the drugging of horses eleven horses at the Godolphin stables by trainer Al Zarooni. Lets also not forget the six month ban handed out to Frankie Detorri for failing a drugs test last year.

Football too has had its share of the headlines with Gerard Kinsella of Fleetwood Town positively testing for the banned steroid Nandrolone last month and receiving a two year ban from the game.

It is not just drug cheats in sport either. Stuart Broad was castigated after failing to walk after edging the ball behind in the First Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. The debate as to whether a batsman should walk split the cricketing world on whether it is cheating or not or did Stuart Broad simply leave the decision up to the umpires who's job it is to make decisions.

Similarly in football there is the age old debate on diving - do Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, for example, cheat when they look for penalties too easily or is this part of the modern game that we should accept?

I am not sure why our sporting heroes decide to take drugs in order to enhance their performances. Perhaps it is for the prestige, honour and money prize isn't be a great temptation but to me they will always be found out and the bubble will burst. Constant screening needs to take place and some sports are better than others at doing that but perhaps there needs to be a consensus across sports on how to tackle this seemingly growing problem.

What type of a message do these cheats send out to our children who look up to them? No cheating should be tolerated and punishment from any sporting governing body should be to ban the guilty for life. We need to deter sportsmen and women from even thinking about cheating in the first place and if it means taking away the chance to earn a living from the sport they profess to love, then so be it.

Hopefully these recent instances are not the tip of the iceberg and sport can regain some public confidence in itself because we all need sporting heroes who we can believe in and look up to in life.

 

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Topics:
#Athletics
#Tyson Gay