Agony of Defeat & Bitter Vindication
New York Times article by Christopher Clary
800M Womens’ Final at the 2012 London Olympics. Three years later, 1st finisher Ekaterina Poistogova & 3rd finisher Mariya Savinova have been stripped of their medals. They are part of a national ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Independent Commission published allegations of systemic and state sponsored doping within Russian athletics. The implications are far reaching and the extent may never be fully grasped for decades. Russian world champion Lovchev is among 17 new doping cases from last year’s 2015 World Weightlifting Championships.
Maria Sharapova recently admitted to taking a performance enhancing substance (Meldonium, an endurance enhancer) for the last 10 years. To what advantage will be debated till the end of time as her list of defeated opponents will always question the final results and ask themselves “if only”.
These are a few recent moments in sports history of the PED guilty and their unspoken victims. It goes without saying that the ones who chose to play by the rules, who are committed to participate with a commitment to integrity are the biggest losers. In this day and age of high tech “performance enhancing substances and gene doping” the limits of cheaters’ potential has become limitless. I’ve had many, many open conversations with athletes that are committed to participating with integrity. There is always hope that those who are choosing to turn their back to true spirit of competition will be caught and proven guilty. But there are two things that must be evolved in order to continue fighting the good fight. Firstly, there must be an understanding that cheaters are not after the medal; they want to steal the glory. Even if they are proven guilty after the fact, the brief moment with their faces in the sun can never be given to its rightful owner. Being handed the well-deserved medal 3 or 4 or 10 years after the fact is a bitter pill to swallow, which is often internally rejected. Along with this glory comes the fame, the fortune through endorsement deals, the incentives and the perpetual springboards for future successes outside of sports that escapes everyone else.
Secondly, every integrity-driven athlete should push to the fore front of their motivational mind and assume that they will be competing against performance enhancing substances. This will lead to the acceptance that competitors who may not be contenders are now major players and the gifted will now perform super human feats. This means that your successes will be in the minute details. Every single variable that can be improved upon must be tinkered with and sharpened. In training we know those guys that leave the line or wall early. It drives us nuts and we go after them to catch them and to show them that “cheaters never win”. This turns out to be a great training tool as it develops our sense of psychomotor urgency and the development of increased speed that comes with it. In the context of this paper, PED users proverbially get off of the line earlier in terms of years. In maintain a competitive field, greater efficiency as much as greater power must be called upon to not only catch up, but to surpass them. There won’t be any greater feeling in the world knowing that you are the best in class, beating others’ attempt at all costs.
Cross every “t” and dot every “i”
Train Smarter…Train Harder.
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