Friday, January 15, 2016


Quick thoughts on the IAAF Scandal.

Previous IAAF President hires his family and friends.
Seb Coe is Vice President. And is conveniently blind and deaf to corruption?
IAAF President and staff (aka: friends and family) take bribes to cover up positive doping test. Staff parties in Monaco, probably.
The entire state of Russia (plus probably Kenya, Morocco, and Turkey) were all cheating (No surprise there).
Seb Coe becomes IAAF President and inherits a shit storm.
SHIT STORM HAPPENS—the IAAF can apparently be bought/track is a joke
Seb says (paraphrased):
            “This sport is in a good state.”
            “These allegations are false.”
            “I never knew about the corruption.”
            "I have been fighting the corruption I didn't know about since my first day as president."
            “Ok. I know. We have a failed organization.”
“These are the darkest days for the sport.”
            “I am the man to fix this sport!”

You can find the detailed story HERE and HERE

We all knew there was massive doping. We thought it was because athletes/coaches knew how to cheat the test. We thought the IAAF was partly corrupt, but for the most part was working with WADA to help protect clean athletes. The IAAF’s job is literally to protect athletes and the integrity of the sport. Did it cross my mind that the IAAF could be the ringleader of a doping scandal? No. I feel like a butt of a horrible, horrible joke. I feel stupid for trying so hard during my professional career. I kind of imaging the Diack family watching the meets, cheersing and laughing at all of us that are, you know, devoting our lives to an almost hopeless cause.
The IAAF has lost all trust. All of it.  The system as it stands should be burned to the ground and rebuilt.

Should Seb Coe be President?
Seb was not the problem, and Seb will not be the solution. He does field questions like a true politician, and has some public support, so sure, I don’t mind if he stays president—as long as he does not have a blatant conflict of interest i.e: being paid by a sponsor invested in the sport. Because that would be ridiculous.  
Blaming Coe for the downfall of the sport is the easy out. That is not a good solution. Right now, at least he is obligated to make change, and he has the spotlight on him to keep him in check.

What was the problem?
The system rewards corruption and cheating.

The IAAF creates an event—an athletics meeting. They pay the big names in athletics to participate. This draws in fans. Sponsors fund the events in exchange for exposure at said events.

What makes these events popular? The rivalries and the superstars.
What is the easiest way to make a superstar? Cheat.
Now the sport of track and field has become a freak show. The once-in-a-lifetime talents and drug cheats are the stars of the show. They draw in fans. These fans make the advertising space more valuable. Therefore the IAAF gets paid more.

Cheats are good for the IAAF’s pocketbook. Plus, the officials of the IAAF get a nice little Christmas bonus when the cheats get caught! The cheats bribe the IAAF officials and the IAAF gets to keep the main attraction alive.

For those who didn’t follow, the money goes like this: Sponsorsà IAAFà Cheatersà IAAF. The IAAF is sitting pretty. No where does the cash flow go towards the majority of athletes. 

Possible solutions?
     1.     Do the sponsors support dopers? Let’s hope not. If they value a clean sport, they should be privy to the knowledge of positive tests. The sponsors could issue a fine for meets that support dopers. The financial incentive to have cheaters is too high, and this is the only way I can think of to hit the IAAF where it hurts—swift kick to the wallet. (This could be bad for the athletes, though. No sponsor money=no sport. We must be careful.)

     2.     Make the public aware of all positive tests. WADA proves someone is doping? BOOM, that person is outed to the media. Ruining an image is powerful. If a meet director puts in a convicted doper, shame on them. The IAAF can’t afford that public shaming at the moment.

     3.     Create a system of checks and balances—WADAs tests were working. Which is actually encouraging.  WADA also had no authority. Which is discouraging. The IAAF paying more to WADA probably won’t help much, considering WADA wasn’t the problem. But it does help the public image of the IAAF, which is valuable to the IAAF at the moment. The IAAF has to give some power to WADA. IAAF cannot hold the IAAF accountable.

      4.     Harsher penalties for drug cheats. This could possibly deter cheating from the athlete side.

5. Burn the entire system down. Create a new system from scratch with more athlete involvement.


  1. Well said! The thing missing from all reports and press conferences is how they will compensate the athletes that were intentionally cheated out of medals and prize money. Also, the IAAF needs to be completely transparent about the gender issues involving some of the athletes on the womens side of the sport.

  2. It will take a top athlete to risk their appearance and endorsement money to lead the other athletes in a boycott of the IAAF events until real improvements are enacted. As I have stated before, it is going to take a Billie Jean King-type leader.

    1. Agreed. If I ever get in that position, I'll do my best.

  3. "What makes these events popular? The rivalries and the superstars.
    What is the easiest way to make a superstar? Cheat."

    I wonder about this comment. My perception is that the true superstars are those athletes who consistently are the best year after year and from season start to season end. Guys like Bolt+Farah or Women like Dibaba. (Of course, these people may be clean or may not)

    On the other hand, drug cheats often come out of the woodwork right before the Olympics (or WCs), like the Russians and Turks.

    So I wonder if the IAAF would be better with a clean field; perhaps the better talent would win more consistently instead of having unknown "surprise" winners.

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