Sport is offered a stark choice

One of the country’s most admired sports writers, Simon Barnes, offered his own take on the issues raised by the Gatlin and Landis cases in his column in The Times this week.

Barnes wrote:

Ben Johnson responded to the news that Justin Gatlin had failed a dope test in his own uncompromising fashion. He said that no one cares about who took what: all people want to see is how fast the human body can go.

It is a fascinating point, and it is not too much to say that the future of sport depends on its resolution.

Gatlin is the world and Olympic 100 metres champion, the fastest man on Earth. The news broke a couple of days after Floyd Landis, the winner of the Tour de France, also failed a drugs test. These two immensely high-profile busts seem to offer sport a stark choice. Do we give up on the drug-addled sports? Or do we give up on drug-testing? There doesn’t seem to be a third option.

The crucial question is whether or not we are prepared to accept a druggy free-for-all in sport.

Read the rest of this article, and the conclusions drawn by Barnes, by clicking here.

And click here to read Jim Ferstle’s review of the press coverage of the Landis and Gatlin cases