Thursday, August 21, 2008

Am I Crazy or This a Double Standard?

I don’t know much about Alan Abrahamson, who is writing for, but I’ll concede that he knows more about Track & Field and any related stories of doping than I do. But I have to object to the way he starts his column about Usain Bolt.

BEIJING -- Usain Bolt of Jamaica etched his name into history Wednesday as one of the Olympic greats, indeed one of the greatest athletes of all time.

What an asshole, right! Who does Abrahamson think he is?

Okay, that’s not the part I meant. On this point I have to agree. I was impressed when he so easily ran the fastest 100M ever, but I thought Michael Johnson’s record was relatively safe.

Assuming he's clean.

This is the second line in the column. Has anyone said this about Michael Phelps, even though swimming has historically been a doped up sport as well?

Aren’t we assuming everyone is clean? Isn’t that where we start? Does it have to be said?

And while no evidence of any sort has surfaced to suggest he's not, it's naïve not to wonder how Bolt is able to run so fast.

Just like one has to wonder how all the gold medalists in track and swimming can run and swim so fast. On the list of how he can run so fast, where is “he may be on drugs?” What about simply thinking that he’s a freak of nature/gifted, he trains really hard, and he’s in amazing physical condition….. these things take a back seat? This strikes me as a bit of a pessimistic way to start a column on the day Bolt broke the record when you've heard no evidence of any sort. Did Alan Abrahamson write about Michael Johnson with this skepticism in 1996 when Johnson ran 19.32? Usain Bolt runs 2/100ths of a second faster and you immediately default to ….hey, great race…..IF he’s clean.

If there’s no evidence of any sort, then why cast that shadow over his accomplishment?

Because no one in the history of human beings, from the first primitive soul desperately trying to outrun a saber-toothed tiger to the sophisticated races of our times, has ever run as fast as Usain Bolt has run at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Has anyone ever swum as fast as Michael Phelps? Does that mean he’s doped up?

"I am the best," Bolt declared late Wednesday night. "I proved it at the Olympics."

Yeah, if you weren’t on drugs, druggie. You can’t fool us.

The rest of the column was a perfectly fine summary of the race, and the background on Johnson’s record falling.

In this column about Phelps, Abrahamson’s title/header is as follows:

Built to succeed ... and assume his place in history

Mental strength, intense focus drove Phelps to epic 8-for-8 in Beijing

There is no mention of steroids or the possibility of Phelps' using PEDs. This is appropriate. Why put “assuming he’s clean” as the second line in a story about Bolt’s impressive feat?

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