As a former Olympic athlete it is soul-destroying to know without doubt that I was competing against athletes who were dirty and to witness this still happening to clean athletes today. As an athlete we know who the cheats are in our sport, but due to heavy repercussions from governing bodies and the likely wrath incurred, most are too frightened to speak out or try and do anything about it.
Therefore, as a retired athlete I propose that we show the IOC that they are making a mockery of something we commit our lives to achieving by choosing to #StandDown from the dais to receive medals to say ‘I’m clean and want to compete against clean athletes, but I don’t believe I am’. Yes, there will be collateral damage but something has to be done to say we are not okay with it being swept under the carpet.
#StandDown from the dais to receive medals to say ‘I’m clean and want to compete against clean athletes, but I don’t believe I am’
Athlete’s about to compete in supposedly the world’s greatest competition will be focused on what’s at hand, with blinkers on readying themselves. And while making political statements at an Olympic Games is against Olympic charter and carries heavy penalties I believe if clean athletes, retired athletes and the public band together, we will have strength in numbers!
We all believe in what the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is trying to achieve but it is clearly not effective. Testing is not catching the cheats, whistle-blowers and investigations are. Most athletes who use PEDs also usually do it out of competition, as they know they are going to be compulsorily tested at the games, therefore those caught at the games or a competition with legitimate testing are either really dumb or have messed up their doping schedule.
I bet if athletes were empowered to set and control the systems there would be a radical change. Life bans, Athlete Biological Passports, a clean level playing field and the restoration of the Olympic Games as the pinnacle of athletic competition.
Yes, there will be some athletes who may be clean and others who have likely been forced into doping systems, but this is a stand against the IOC and their pitifully weak decision to not uphold the integrity and core principles of the Olympic Games.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worthwhile in the face of overwhelming political corruption, and if the Olympics will ever be a clean level playing field restored to the pinnacle of fair athletic competition.
But at an individual level, in your own environment, you are the guardian of all that is worthwhile, free and wonderful about sport. Nothing will make them listen more than a significant demand from the athletes and sports fans themselves.
Imagine this message; any time a clean athlete received a medal beside a cheat, they choose to #StandDown off the dais to receive their medal.
If the clean athletes of the RIO Olympic Games believe as I do that the IOC needs to be made accountable for their actions or lack of them then please make a unified decision to #StandDown for #CleanSport. This is your chance to have your say.