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A couple of weeks ago I watched with interest the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah. I honestly never expected to see Armstrong admit to cheating in his sport of cycling. For so long I believed that people were gunning for him due to the tall poppy syndrome. Surely, someone who won seven consecutive Tour de France’s had to be juiced up, they were saying. No one could possibly achieve that feat without some assistance, they said.
I for one believed him and then felt like a schmuck when I heard him confess. I knew that doping in cycling was rife but I hoped that the best of the best, who had such stellar careers and did so much good in the community, were above that. That these people won because they had a drive and determination and a skill that made them the best.
I now can’t look at the sport of cycling or its participants without thinking cheats and that their sport is tarnished, perhaps forever.
I remember thinking that I am glad that cycling, which is to me, just a sport which is a passing interest, and I felt sorry for all of the fans whose sport was now ruined and in tatters.
I was glad I wasn’t that guy.
Yesterday the same brush that has tarnished the sport of cycling was also used to brand, well most Australian sports, into the category of drug cheats.
In a historic press conference, the heads of the major sports in Australia, including AFL, NRL, FAA, and CA, with politicians and investigators from the Australian Crime Commission lifted the lid, no blew the lid on illegal doping in most Australian sports with a link to organised crime.
I was shocked that it was so widespread and while no names were named it was pretty obvious that this story is only going to get bigger and a witch hunt will begin.
So now what?
As a major consumer of sport, particularly AFL, NRL and Cricket, I want names named! I want to know who are the players and coaches and sports scientists and clubs that are illegally trying to get an advantage.
I want to know who the clean players are so that when I watch the footy this winter, I’m not wondering if that goal by a superstar forward was not assisted by illegal doping. That, that freak try that no one in their right mind should have been able to score, was not assisted by illegal doping. That, that outfield catch which was no one’s business to take, was not assisted by illegal doping.
Because until names are named, that is exactly what I will be thinking.
It’s a very sad time for Australian sport and the authorities must get to the bottom of it and quickly.
So what do you think. Is all Aussie sport tarnished? Will you be watching and wondering who is a cheat and who isn’t?