Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2013 Contents A62
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, August 10, 2013
MOSCOW---The ever entertaining and always
amusing Usain Bolt will soon be blazing down
his lane to give track a dose of positive---from
performances, for a change, and not tests.
The recent doping scandals involving Tyson Gay
and Asafa Powell have cast a dark cloud over the
sport, one that Bolt s hoping to blow away by
sprinting his way to gold.
That Gay or Powell, or even an injured Yohan
Blake, aren t at the world championships that open
Saturday doesn t really overshadow the event
because anytime Bolt steps into the blocks, he
alone, by himself, makes for compelling theater.
When the charismatic Jamaican is in top form,
and properly motivated, records can be broken.
And track could certainly use that at the moment,
given that Gay, Powell, Sherone Simpson and
Veronica Campbell-Brown have all recently tested
positive for banned substances.
Granted, there aren t as many threats to Bolt in
the 100 meters with Blake, his top rival and the
defending champion, also sidelined due to a nagging
hamstring injury. But these days Bolt s biggest
challenger may just be the clock anyway.
"After the 2012 Olympics, I was telling people
who weren t into track and field, Hold onto your
popcorn because next year is going to be even more
exciting. We re going to have the same people, "
American sprinter Justin Gatlin said. "Never in a
million years would I think it would end up like
this. I still think it s going to be exciting."
Indeed, largely due to Bolt s popularity. It s not
like he won t be pushed, though.
After all, Gatlin beat him in Rome two months
ago and is eager to prove that it wasn t a fluke,
that he s closing the gap on the world-record hold-
er.These two aren t exactly best of friends. They
don t really talk all that much off the track, but
there s definitely a measure of respect. Hard not
to respect the sprinter who has captured six Olympic
titles and shattered world records in the 100m (his
current mark is 9.58 seconds) and the 200m (19.19).
"He s done so much for the sport and in the
sport," Gatlin said. "People either want to see Bolt
get beat or don t want to see him lose. There s
pressure of always being perfect."
Blake fleetingly stole Bolt s stage last year by
beating his teammate in the 100 and 200 at the
Olympic trials and by winning the world 100 title
in 2011 when Bolt false-started.
Had Blake been healthy, this would ve been a
good rematch. Gay would have been a worthy
opponent, too, especially since he was healthy for
the first time in quite a while. But the American,
who won the 100 and 200 at nationals, failed an
out-of-competition doping test.
Powell won t be here, either, after testing pos-
itive---along with Simpson---for a banned stimu-
"I want to line up against Yohan. I want to line
up against Tyson. I want to line up against Asafa,"
Gatlin said. "This kind of takes a spark out of it
a little bit."
He paused, contemplating his impending show-
down with Bolt.
"But now it s like a real heavyweight bout, where
you have two guys who aren t the best of friends,
ready to run against each other and rumble," Gatlin
Lately, Bolt has been the undisputed champion,
captivating the crowd with his bravado and clowning
around. When the gun sounds, he s all business
for less than 10 seconds before returning to his
This race, with the final on Sunday, has his full
attention. He s not overlooking anything---or any-
"I am fit and ready to go!" Bolt wrote in a recent
email. "Right now my only focus is winning three
gold medals at worlds."
Besides the 100, there are other intriguing plot
lines at the worlds:
• Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena
Isinbayeva of Russia wrapping up her career after
• Trey Hardee attempting to defend his world
title against Olympic champion and world-record
holder Ashton Eaton.
• Mo Farah trying to capture the 5,000 and
10,000 by holding off training partner Galen Rupp.
Of course, anytime Bolt steps on the track,
whether it s in the prelims or the final or even for
a curtain call, he is the star attraction.
"He realised what value he still adds to the sport.
He realises what an icon he is for us," former
sprinter Frank Fredericks said. "This is how he
makes his living."
Olympic Committee is waiting
for more clarifications from the
Russian government on the
anti-gay law that is overshad-
owing preparations for the
Winter Games in Sochi, IOC
President Jacques Rogge yes-
The law, signed by President
Vladimir Putin in June, bans
"propaganda of nontraditional
sexual relations" and imposes
fines on those holding gay pride
rallies. It has caused a major
international outcry and
spawned calls for protests ahead
of the Feb. 7-23 Olympics in the
Black Sea resort.
Rogge said the Russian gov-
ernment provided written re-
assurances about the law on
Thursday, but that some ele-
ments are still too unclear to
"We are waiting for the clar-
ifications before having the final
judgment on these reassurances,"
Rogge said, a day before the start
of the world athletics champi-
onships in Moscow.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly
Mutko insisted Thursday that
Olympic athletes would have to
respect the laws of the country
during the Sochi Games. On Fri-
day, he said there was no way
Russia would back down under
Referring to Western criticism,
Mutko was quoted as saying by
Interfax: "I wouldn t call the
pressure light. Russia must
understand that the stronger we
are, the more other people aren t
going to like it. We have a unique
"We don t have to be afraid
of threats to boycott the Olympic
Games," Mutko said. "All sen-
sible people understand that
sports demand independence,
that it is inadmissible that pol-
On Thursday, Mutko did
make it clear that the private
lives and privacy of athletes
would be respected as it is guar-
anteed by the Russian consti-
Rogge said that was essential.
"The Olympic charter is clear,"
Rogge said. "A sport is a human
right and it should be available
to all, regardless of race, sex or
Even if Russia accepts that
principle, the law leaves open
the issue of athletes speaking
freely during the games.
"As far as the freedom of
expression is concerned, of
course, this is something that is
important," Rogge said. "But we
cannot make a comment on the
law" until the clarifications have
The All Out advocacy group
said it was happy with Rogge s
"This is the strongest and
most direct statement we have
received from the International
Olympic Committee. It shows
the IOC is listening to the global
outcry," said All Out Executive
Director Andre Banks.
Still, Rogge pleaded for time
to study the Russian reassur-
ances some more.
"I understand your impatience
to get the full picture, but we
haven t (received) it today," Rogge
said. "There are still too many
uncertainties in the text."
Rogge said the problems
seemed to center on transla-
"We don t think it is a fun-
damental issue," he said at a
news conference following a
meeting of the IOC executive
board with the International
Association of Athletics Feder-
Olympic official Craig
Reedie is set to become
the next president of the
Agency, facing a "daunt-
ing" task of cleaning up
sport in the wake of a
slew of drug scandals
around the world.
Reedie, a vice presi-
dent of the International
Olympic Committee, was
nominated for the WADA
post Friday by the IOC
executive board. He was
chosen over former
Olympic hurdles great
Edwin Moses and former
IOC medical director
Reedie is in line to
succeed John Fahey, a
former Australian min-
ister who steps down at
the end of the year.
Reedie, who is already a
member of WADA s
executive committee, will
be put up for election at
the World Conference on
Doping in Sport in
Johannesburg from Nov.
12-15. The vote is expect-
ed to be a formality.
Reedie, a former pres-
ident of the international
and chairman of the
British Olympic Associ-
ation, was chosen to lead
the anti-doping cam-
paign at a time of great
turbulence in the global
Among those failing
recent drug tests were
sprinters Tyson Gay,
Asafa Powell and Sherone
Simpson, as well as more
than 30 Turkish track
and field athletes and
numerous Russians. In
addition, there has been
a report of systematic
doping in the former
West Germany and the
drug probe in Major
League Baseball that
Rodriguez and 12 other
"It is daunting, if you
look at the last seven,
eight weeks of news,"
Reedie said. "Yes, it is
Also Friday, the IOC
executive board approved
guidelines for sanctioning
the members of an ath-
lete s entourage---coach-
es, agents, mangers and
physios---who push their
clients into doping or ille-
gal betting. The measures
range from reprimands
to permanent bans.
Bolt always the show
when he steps on track
Jamaica's Usain Bolt jogs during a Team Jamaica training
session ahead of IAAF Athletics World championships at the
Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia. AP PHOTO
IOC wants reassurances on Russia anti-gay law
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