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A lost chance to revitalize Olympic track and field


I am lucky enough to have a great many friends, colleagues, acquaintances who are heavily involved and who much appreciate the world of track and field, particularly when it  is performed at the highest levels.

I’ve been around it a little bit – still remember covering great invitational meet in Tillsonburg with the dulcet tones of Cecil Smith as the track announcer and there have been a few Olympic moments (Leah Pells in Atlanta stays with me) – and today I feel a measure of sadness for those who love the sport so dearly.

The IOC screwed them yesterday, screwed clean and honest athletes in every sport all over the world, and while track and field will survive, the opportunity for it to thrive was lost when the so-called leaders of the Olympic movement cowered.

The news is old, obviously. The IOC did not heed the advice of the world’s anti-doping leaders in their call for a blanket ban of Russian athletes at Rio and beyond for their well-documented state-sponsored drug regimen; it was a chicken’s way out and only a little surprising.

You can, I suppose, credit the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics, for doing what it can to weed out the cheaters but this was a message and penalty that needed to be sent from the highest level.

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The IOC crapped the bed, the same bed it apparently lies in with Russia and so many others of dubious character and sports will pay the price.

There is a taint to the highest levels of track and field that has existed for decades and it’s too bad but it is reality. This was a chance to remove some of the doubt and the cynicism – not all because that’s a virtual impossibility, but some – and now it remains.

It is a shame. It is the IOC’s shame.

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Come Rio, we will still marvel at Usain Bolt and cheer for Andre De Grasse and hope that Shaun Barber and Derek Drouin can be there best on the most important day and watch fitfully to see if Melissa Bishop can run the race of her life or if Brianne Theisen-Eaton can have two magical days but I am afraid too many casual fans will be wondering which athlete is on what substance and who helped them circumvent the testing process.

That’s sad but that, too, is a reality but a reality that at least could have been lessened had the IOC not chickened out.

It will get to other sports for sure, those with an interest in weightlifting will look askance at some competitors, there will be many clouds that could have been lifted a bit if only the IOC hadn’t screwed practitioner and proponents of clean sport.

If you’re driving when this comes on the radio and you don’t turn it up, start bopping your head and pounding the steering wheel a little bit, I’m not certain we can be friends.

Who doesn’t like a little stray cats.

Monday night in July and coming off a bad loss and not having played in more than a week?

I’m putting the over/under number on announced Argos attendance tonight at 11,800. If it rains, 10,600.

What have you got?

If Chris Sale really wants to make a statement about alternate uniforms, he should hire himself out sport-to-sport and slice and dice and destroy every camouflage jersey that exists.

That would be a true service to the world of North American sports.

And I bet that there are athletes around the continent quietly smiling in support of Sale and his fight against the garish after he went a tad berserk on the weekend.

It’s I’ll Have Another day and you’ve got a couple of hours to get into listener mail before we hit the studio so do the whole Number Sign IHApodcast thing and the tweeter and someone who knows how to will find your questions.

Now, the final result was close and there were some wondrous rounds fired at the Canadian Open yesterday but the whole thing seemed a bit anti-climatic, didn’t it, when Jared Du Toit fell out of contention.

Would have been an amazing story had the Canadian amateur been able to pull it off – was still a pretty amazing story considering he was in hospital getting an inhaler for a bout of bronchitis 14 or so hours before he teed off – but the buzz was gone rather quickly.

No disrespect to the winner but the story could have been so much better; a basically faceless and unknown winning is hardly the stuff of which memories are made.

I watched a fair bit as it turns out and the one thing that struck me was that, for some reason, Glen Abbey didn’t look or act like Glen Abbey.

Maybe it was the weather that turned it a bit brown, maybe it was the fact it seemed to play a bit easier than I recall, maybe it’s just too familiar. It just didn’t seem to have the usual feel about it.

I love that the RCGA moves it around the country, to Hamilton and Vancouver and Montreal and wherever else; I know there are logistical issues at some of the great, great courses across the land to do with parking and corporate tenting and the sheer number of people they can put on the grounds to watch but a different course every year strikes me as the way to go.

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