Tainted memories and a troubled future

Sebastian Coe.
Sebastian Coe.

It’s hard to know where to start with the problems facing athletics.

I really don’t know how Seb Coe or anybody else for that matter can get to grips with the doping epidemic.

What chance do you have when it becomes as institutionalised as this week’s revelations have shown?

It could be impossible.

It’s so sad.

There will always be cheats in a sport where drug-taking can have such a big effect on your performance. But to have a government facilitating it, one as significant as Russia, is on a whole new level.

When I was in the Olympic Stadium I thought I was part of something that would give me memories that lasted a lifetime.

But now I’m sure some of them will have been tainted.

Athletics will suffer for years because of this.

Say you were good at a few sports as a junior and you had to choose which one to take seriously, would you choose track and field?

It’s hard enough to get to the top in any sport, but the very basic expectation should be that the best will succeed.

In athletics that is so far from the case.

You could be the most talented and the hardest working and still be beaten by somebody on drugs.

I don’t know how athletics can shake that off.

* This time next week we’ll be getting ready to start the European Championships.

We fly out to Denmark on Wednesday and our first game is against the hosts on the Friday night.

Practice has gone really well since we came back from Canada and we just want to get going now.

There will be nobody in the competition who we don’t have a good record against, so we’ve got high expectations.

They’ve changed the format to the same one as the Olympics. It’s a case of finishing in the top four through the round robin and then it’s straight knock-out semi-finals.

The competition takes over a week, which is much longer than regular events, so we’re hoping that our experience and fitness will be big factors.

The Europeans have been pretty good to me. It’s been silver, gold, silver, silver, bronze.

To get on the podium each time shows real consistency but it’s time there was a bit more gold on that list!

* There’s been a bit of controversy in the world of curling recently.

Our governing body has banned a certain type of broom from next week’s Pacific-Asia Championship.

I’m in total agreement with the decision, and I hope they make it permanent.

The name of our sport is a bit of a clue, but curling a stone is a pretty crucial skill.

But one of the broom manufacturers has designed one that has a bit of plastic in it. The best description I can give it is a cheese-grater.

We played against a team using them recently and they literally left a track in the ice.

They take a lot of skill out of the game, which can never be a good thing.

It’s like joystick curling.

We’re one of the teams who have signed a statement saying we won’t use the new broom.

Like I say, hopefully the World Curling Federation make this temporary ban a permanent one.