Mo Farah has been caught up in a classic athletics drugs storm. Except he hasn’t. Except he has. Oh please Mo, please say it ain’t so…
Actually he already has said it ain’t!
In fact it’s his *coach* that’s been caught up in a drugs scandal, but that’s meant double World and Olympic Champion Farah has been dragged in by association.
In a sport tainted by drugs for 40 years, British athletes, while not coming through totally unblemished by a long way, have largely held the attitude that they are one of the ‘good’ nations, upholding the values of fair play.
As for Mo himself, his story of hard work and success found in Britain, culminating in that Saturday night at the London 2012 Olympics are etched into the British sporting history.
So, to have any possibility of a whiff (or injection) of drugs, makes sports fan wince. Well, it did me. Here’s the story…
When Mo relocated to the US, it was to take his performance to that extra level it needed, and he went to American coach Alberto Salazar. Salazar was acclaimed for his meticulous approach, and the results were clear to see, with Mo and training partner Galen Rupp seeing ever improving results, leading to that famous gold and silver for them in that London race.
The problem is that people in the Salazar camp, former athletes and staff, have now come forward to make claims against the regime, the Nike Oregon Project, claims involving the dreaded ‘D’ word – DRUGS!
It’s claimed that Salazar was particularly adept at using the system know as TUEs, or Therapeutic Use Exemption. Basically these allow athletes to use drugs that are, or might be, on the banned list, if they have a proven medical need to take them.
The claims are that Salazar used them, with Rupp in particular, to allow him to take testosterone, maybe as far back as when he was 16.
Another athlete, Kara Goucher, has claimed that when Salazar told her she needed to lose weight quicker, she got a delivery of prescription drugs, without medically needing them or having an actual prescription!
An assistant coach has claimed Salazar used to get his son to rub different amounts of testosterone gel into his skin to see how much would trigger a failed test. Salazar claimed this was to guard against anyone rubbing the gel into another athletes skin after a race to get them caught. Hmm…
Salazar has denied any wrongdoing. Rupp has denied any wrongdoing. Farah has denied any wrongdoing.
Hang on, why has Farah denied something he hasn’t even been accused of?
Because he has to.
Even though all the reporting has stated repeatedly that there is no accusation that Mo has taken drugs, if accusations surface against a coach, in the past it has often meant that most, if not all of their athletes have been involved. Since Farah is the biggest star Salazar has coached, it’s natural for the gaze of publicity to then fall on Farah.
At a press conference before a meeting he was due to appear at, Farah was almost pleading with the press, that it wasn’t fair that his reputation was “being dragged through the mud” when he hadn’t done anything, and that he would be seeking urgent answers from both Salazar and Rupp.
The next day he pulled out of the race and flew back to the USA. Now UK Athletics say they will be looking back over all of his medical history.
Now it’s just a matter of time. Time that will show whether Salazar, Rupp and others have been down the drugs road taken by so many others, and time that will show whether Farah was involved, or knew.
The problem for Mo, is that even if he’s never even accused, his reputation *is* now tainted by association, unless Salazar is totally exonerated, and even then, only time will tell if that mud sticks or not.
All Mo can do for now is do what he already has done – say it ain’t so.
Do let me know what you think, I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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