Usain Bolt, the “world’s fastest man” and six-time Olympic gold medalist, wholeheartedly supports the blank ban on all Russian track and field athletes. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned 67 Russian track and field athletes even though many of them had never tested positive for any type of anabolic steroid or other prohibited performance-enhancing drug (PED).
Bolt didn’t mind. He was happy with the level of proof provided by WADA and believed that the IAAF’s decision to ban the entire team was the correct course of action.
“If you have the proof, and you catch somebody, I definitely feel like you should take action,” Bolt said. “And if you feel like banning the whole team is the right action, then I’m all for it…
“If you cheated, then it’s a good message to show that if you cheat, or go against the rules, then we are going to take serious action. This will scare a lot of people, send a strong message that the sport is serious about wanting to clean the sport up.”
Some people have since exalted Bolt as the shining light to promote clean athletes and save the 2016 Rio Olympics from the disgrace of Russian doping. The state-sponsored Russian doping program was so bad that Russia and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) were being compared to the doping programs of the former Soviet Union and East German Olympic teams.
According to Associated Press writer Eddie Pells, Bolt is expected to be the clean athlete who will give fans a “reprieve from the wasteland of corrupt countries, reshuffled medals and win-at-any-cost malfeasance it has become.”
Pells and Bolt apparently have a very short memory. Just a few years ago, it was Jamaica, the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) and the Jamaican track and field team that were being compared to the former Soviet Union and East Germany.
Former WADA President Dick Pound compared Jamaica to the former Soviet Union (USSR) and the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) based on the permissiveness of doping and lackadaisical testing in the Caribbean island nation.
“[Top athletes] know that when they leave the country their level of success is such that the athletes are going to get tested,” Pound said. “My understanding is that they make sure they’re clean before they leave. It was the same in the old Soviet Union and East Germany days — they didn’t let anyone out who was going to get caught.”
Pound heavily criticized JADCO after former JADCO executive director Renee Anne Shirley became the whistleblower who exposed the lack of steroid testing of Bolt and other top sprinters prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“The Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission was doing almost no testing on their top-level athletes in the period leading to Beijing and London,” Pound said. “You had a complete dominance of both of those competitions by those athletes. Such enormous dominance is of itself suspicious…
“I think the IAAF very seldom go to the island. As soon as you arrive, everyone knows and it’s very hard to find people,” alleged Pound. “You can miss up to three tests before you’re deemed to have tested positive but you can’t refuse a test so it’s much easier to get ‘lost’ than turn up and say ‘no’”.
Ironically, it was Dick Pound who chaired the WADA Independent Commission which recommended that the IAAF ban Russia from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The moral panic over steroids and PEDs has gone full circle. Usain Bolt and Jamaica have gone from being “dirty”, “cheating” villains in the aftermath of the 2012 London Olympics to being “clean” heroes going into the 2016 Rio Olympics.