I’m skeptical because, before the 2008 Beijing Games, Jamaican sprinters had won only three gold medals in the 25 previous Summer Olympic Games. In the last two Olympics combined (Beijing and London), they won 16 of a possible 28 medals in the men’s and women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes and 4 x 100 relay, including seven of 12 gold medals.
In the last four World Championships combined — the 2008 Olympics, the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics — Jamaicans have claimed 30 of a possible 56 medals in the men's and women's 100, 200 and 4x100 — and 16 of 24 gold medals.
I’m skeptical because four of the fastest men in history — with times all produced in just the last few years — are from a poor, tiny island nation of 2½ million, where explanations of their sprint prowess range from lifestyle to a diet of yams and green bananas.
I’m skeptical because I’m not sure anyone can run 100 meters in under 9.8 seconds without some chemical assistance. Now a 9.7 draws a yawn.
I’m skeptical because all of sport is rife with PED use, but track and cycling have taken more than their fair share of hits on the drug front. Why relatively few NFL and NBA drug busts? Track and cycling have done more than any sport to root out drugs, producing the most effective, rigorous testing and handing out the most severe penalties. But all they’ve gotten for their trouble is a sullied reputation and a heightened level of skepticism about their sports.
And I am skeptical.
Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. EMAIL: email@example.com
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