Peter Williams: 'There's only one way an athlete-led movement will win the war against doping in sport'


The war on drugs in sport has some new fighters for the cause - clean athletes.

While the IOC and numerous International Federations showed an utter lack of spine after the McLaren Report, a couple of gold-medal-winning swimmers and a New Zealand weightlifter have been vociferous in their opinion.

That is to be loudly applauded.

First up was Mack Horton, the Australian winner of the 400-metre freestyle.

ONE News Presenter and columnist Peter Williams.

Source: 1 NEWS

He mercilessly chipped the Chinese silver medallist Sun Yang, calling him a drug cheat.

Sun served a three month suspension in 2014 for testing positive to trimetazidine.

But China's swimming authorities didn't tell anybody until the suspension had been served.

Horton gave Sun a serve before the 400m final, a move that might be considered a typical Aussie sledge.

But he didn't back off after the race saying, "that I have a problem with him testing positive and still competing".

A French backstroker Camile Lacourt stirred the pot some more by suggesting that "Sun Yang pisses purple".

The most successful Olympian of all time says it wouldn’t be naive to think drug taking didn’t happen in top level sport.
Source: 1 NEWS

Just to reinforce the differing attitudes, between clean swimmers and those who administer the sport, Sun - after he later won gold in the 200m - was seen on the pool deck embracing the FINA Executive Director Cornel Marcelescu, a man Sun described as "being like a grandfather to me".

I know from experience that grandfathers always give their little boys lots of treats and goodies - like never punishing them too much, no matter how bad they've been.

American breast stroker Lily King was next to fire a shot.

She won the 100m gold medal on Monday after edging Russian Yulia Efimova.

That's the same Yulia Efimova who only this year tested positive for the Maria Sharpova drug meldonium, and who was banned from October 2013 to February 2015 for using steroids.

So how Efimova is even at the Olympics defies belief.

Lily King was seen in the athletes marshalling area during the heats wagging her finger at the TV monitor when Efimova was racing.

Lilly King, center, second placed Russia's Yulia Efimova, right.

Lilly King, center, second placed Russia's Yulia Efimova, right.

Source: Associated Press

While she may have been gesticulating that she was number one, it's more likely she was admonishing the Russian just for being there.

After she won the gold medal, she refused to embrace Efimova in the pool and afterwards commented dryly "I'm not a fan."

And she's consistent too.

She didn't change her opinion when asked whether Americans who have served suspensions for drug use should be at the Olympics, like sprinting stars Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.

"They shouldn't. It is unfortunate we have to see that."

Then there's Richie Patterson.

A New Zealand weightlifter with a Commonwealth Games gold medal, he knows he hasn't much chance here because, according to him, the 85kg class has just "four or five" clean lifters out of 24.

And that's without any Russians in the weightlifting.

So is this the beginning of a movement?

A movement led by athletes doing the job that gutless administrators won't do?

You'd like to think so, but it's still the administrators who have the power.

And the administrators in too many countries are too close to the politicians and the corporate power brokers.

There's only one way an athlete-led movement will win the war against doping in sport.

That's when a real superstar like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps makes a serious protest.

That means not competing at the Olympics and saying why - until drug cheats are thrown out.

But that's not going to happen.

A superstar athlete in the core sports of athletics and swimming makes or enhances a reputation only during the Olympic Games themselves.

That leads to more endorsements and more glory, and so the cycle continues.

Money and power always wins.

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