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Since the multiple national lock-downs by the current public enemy number one, the lady corona virus, there have been multiple wildlife sightings, from wolves, deer, lions, tigers and even bears. This have left many people to turn to the skies, wondering, speculating, looking for certain flying fire breathing objects.
Notwithstanding, with the Olympic games firmly tucked around another corner by lady corona, this has thrown a wrench in the gears of the athletes preparing for the games in more ways than one. Separate and apart from the postponement of the games, the corona virus, may have possibly thrown a lifeline to some athletes.
Owing to Covid 19 outbreak, anti-doping testing was either scaled down or put off world-wide, which have resulted in some noteworthy criticisms by high profile athletes and have raised some serious concerns about the games ahead.
What is feared by most, is that come the 2021 Olympic games and the successive championships in the very near future, they may be the games and championships characterised by the ungodly or un-natural speed, jumps and throws.
There is a bit of apprehension on my part, that due to this break in testing by the covid-19 outbreak, doping is, will, and have occurred in this the penultimate year before the Olympic games. This for some is yet another valid reason to cancel the games. Some critics have argued that the games should be put off until the Covid 19 outbreak has been subdued. This would allow for some time to pass where full testing by all national doping control centres have transpired with some regularity.
Some countries, post lock-down have resumed some levels of drug testing but others are still in the middle of an outbreak or trying to control the outbreak, so no testing can take place or very minimal. With that being said, the scales may already be tipping negatively in favour of athletes in countries where the outbreak of Covid 19 is still running rampant.
If testing is not resumed world-wide and with some frequency, come the games, it will be a hard pill to crack and swallow to waste one’s weekend to watch with horror “The Game of the Biggest Cheetahs”, Olympic style!
The probability is, we might see this not only in track and field but in every sporting discipline at the games. We might watch with absolute horror as athletes and teams who have for performed consistently at high standards and have established their calibre, just be made to look quite ordinary. Beaten by other competitors who prior to the games, not even in their sleep could have beaten these established teams or athletes. We could also see an emergence of a new set of athletes just appear out of nowhere. Bringing the Greatest athletic showcase in to nothing but a grand joke with the encore destined for the world championships.
Another effect of the outbreak could occur where some professional athletes may just decide to use performance enhancing ‘apparatus’ as they might assume others are doing so as well, just to give themselves a competitive edge.
With 2021 – 2024 and the successive championships in track and field, one can say there is an added impetus to cheat, especially if the strategy employed gives an athlete an added advantage now and will not return any positive doping test when the Olympic games come around.
In the US an attempt at drug testing was being showcased called ‘online’ testing. I applaud the effort, but this is ineffective, a clear warning sign and when evaluated, is ultimately meaningless. With one of the top 100 metre sprinters form the US already cited for doping violations, the writing may already be on the wall, we just did not see it.
It will be quite the task to convince the public that the games are indeed dope free, should the IOC decide to proceed with the games. Undoubtedly, there will be an attempt by all the respective national doping control centres to arrest any form of drug use in the respective sporting disciplines post outbreak. Nonetheless, the proverbial horse may already be long gone out the gate galloping far down the road into the sunset.
There will also, always be those who will maintain their integrity in staying away from drug use in their respective sporting discipline but, there will be a lingering suspicion and aspersions thrown should a clean, hardworking new athlete upset the established apple cart.
Another ripple-effect of Covid 19 is that it has created a space where more than ample room has been given, or will be given to cheat as social distancing is now mandatory. Not to point fingers at anyone but, with some countries still reeling from the Covid 19 outbreak, it is safe to say that those who have decided to dope (if any at all) could have safely done so. Until the respective jurisdictions have sufficiently brought their outbreak numbers down and where some semblance of normalcy to daily life has returned, drug testing may be problematic.
Nevertheless, the games may just not materialise. With the almost ever present Covid 19 still in the air, the much-anticipated Olympic games may not take place for 2021 and as painful as the thought is, it may probably be for the best, all things being considered.