British Athletics has published ‘A Manifesto for Clean Athletics,’ in which 14 recommendations are made to rid track and field of its doping problem. Among the suggestions is a call to wipe clean all world records and start with a clean slate.
The move would eliminate Jamaican Usain Bolt’s world record marks in the men’s 100-meter and 200-meter dash, as well as the United States’ 100-meter world record set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.
East Germany still has two world record holders with Jürgen Schult in the discus and Marita Koch in the 400-meter dash.
Triple jumper Jonathan Edwards and marathoner Paula Radcliffe are the two lone world record holders for Great Britain.
Radcliffe, whose record of 2:15:25 in the marathon has stood since 2003, told The Guardian’s Sean Ingle that she is against the expunging of all records.
“Without doubt you are going to punish innocent athletes and why are you going to do it again when they have already had to compete against cheats during their career? I feel that innocent athletes have suffered enough at the hands of drugs cheats,” Radcliffe said.
She offered the recommendation that any positive test should lead to action against the athlete and their actions.
“One of my suggestions to UK Athletics was that if sufficient evidence comes to light about any athlete doping at any point, then all of their marks retrospectively get wiped for their entire career,” Radcliffe said. “It means, for example, that with [former British sprinter] Linford Christie all his marks would be gone because he failed a test in 1999. You are not saying they were cheating at that point, but the decision to dope means you forego and sacrifice everything you achieved before that. I think that is a strong deterrent.”
In 2015, three world records were set, as Ashton Eaton of the United States bettered his score in the decathlon to 9,045 points; Genzebe Dibaba shattered a controversial women’s 1,500-meter record by running 3:50.07 and Anita Wlodarczyk threw for 81.08 meters in the weight throw. Dibaba broke a world record set by Qu Yunxia of China in 1993. Yunxia trained under coach Ma Junren, who provided his athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and was dismissed from his post with the Chinese Olympic team.
The call to action by British Athletics comes just one week after an ethics commission by the International Association of Athletics Federation banned four officials for their roles in the cover-up of systematic doping by Russian athletes and coaches. The World Anti-Doping Agency is expected to release its own report into the IAAF’s handling of doping cover-ups on Thursday.
London is slated to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships, which could provide a stage for British Athletics to host potential new world records.
- Christopher Chavez