USA track's leader sends strong message on doping
DALIAN, China(AP) The new leader of USA Track and Field has a simple message to those who aren't buying into the idea of wiping away years of drug scandals and creating a new, clean sport: Get out.
Or rather, ``GET OUT!''
Chief executive officer Doug Logan used all capital letters and an exclamation point to make his point at the end of the weekly blog he has begun posting on the federation's Web site.
``I do it because if our sport doesn't set a course of brazen, vocal intolerance toward drugs, the viability of track and field on a go-forward basis is compromised,'' Logan wrote in his last posting before traveling to China for the Olympics. ``Or, as I like to say: if unchecked, drugs threaten to choke the life out of the sport.''
It's the same message Logan sounded when he was introduced as CEO last month - an outspoken statement from the leader in a sport that needs actions to back up the words.
A former commissioner of Major League Soccer, Logan presents himself as an outsider who knows he will not make everyone happy in a federation comprised of three constituencies - sprinters, distance runners and field athletes - that often have different agendas.
He took a nonconforming stand a few weeks ago, saying he wanted the 1,600-meter world record set by the United States a decade ago erased from the national record books because it was tainted by doping.
Vacating the record would go against a widely held tenet in track - that it would be awkward if the sport's international federation recognized an American mark as a world record, but America itself did not post it in its own record books.
Logan doesn't care. He knows the perception of track - bad at the moment - can't be changed if nobody believes that what they're seeing on the field of play is legitimate.
His logic, he says, goes to the bottom line, as well.
``The budget of USATF is over $16 million, and it should be triple that figure,'' Logan wrote. ``... I believe that far more sponsors would be more enthusiastic about us and our athletes if they got the sense that there is moral indignation and a commitment to really manhandle drugs to get them out of the sport.''
The full blog is at: http://www.usatf.org/about/leadership/ShinSplintsBlog/ .
TAYLOR'S HEALTH: Watch out, world. Angelo Taylor is healthy again.
The 2000 gold medalist in the 400 meter hurdles and 1,600 meter relay said he took it as a good sign that he made the Olympics again in 2004 despite stress fractures in his shins that ``made it feel like someone was taking a cane and just running it across my shins every time I ran.''
He figured if he was good enough to make the Olympics in that kind of pain - pain he didn't tell anybody about - who knew how far he could go if he was feeling good?
After missing the Olympic finals in 2004, Taylor has another chance this year.
Healthy again, he finished third at Olympic trials to make his third games and spin quite a story about second, and third, chances.
His career seemed all but over after the injuries set him back and then he was put on probation after being arrested in 2005 and pleading guilty to charges of contributing to the delinquency of two underage girls.
His sponsorship vanished and he started doing electrical work to pay the bills. At least one aspect of the job was perfect because it ended each day at 2:30 p.m.
``So at 3:30, I could go train,'' he said. ``I knew it would be tough, but when I set my mind at something, set a goal, I'm going 110 percent into it.''
In training, Taylor realized he hadn't lost a step. Maybe gained a few, in fact. He quit his job shortly before winning the 400-meter sprint at last year's national championships. He won bronze at worlds.
He got his sponsorship back and at 29, he is still a factor on the U.S. team and the Olympic scene.
``I knew I had it,'' he said. ``I was running fast hurt. Knowing that, I felt, if I can run this fast hurt, if I get healthy, then how fast can I run? That was always in the back of my mind.''
WIND SPRINTS: Bernard Lagat and pole vaulter Brad Walker flew to Dalian for training camp Wednesday. Neither made it in time to go to practice. Meanwhile, javelin thrower Breaux Greer added his name to the growing list of people who had signed up for the camp but now aren't coming. ... Afternoon practice included only four athletes: marathoner Deena Kastor, long jumper Trevell Quinley, hurdler Sheena Johnson Tosta and triple jumper Rafeeq Curry. ... The first extensive day of relay practice, with work on baton exchanges and the like, is Thursday, with another one scheduled for Saturday.