With two Olympic Gold medals and three world titles, Mo Farah is one of Britain's biggest sport stars, so how much damage have the allegations by the BBC and the Daily Mail done to him, and what is he guilty of?
There is no evidence to suggest Mo Farah is a drug cheat. He has never failed a drugs test, his biological passport has never been flagged by the authorities, and nor has he yet been accused of the above. The last two weeks however have done little to improve his public image, and questions are being asked of him with increasing regularity, as people wonder whether there is more to this story than meets the eye, or whether Farah has had his name unnecessarily dragged through the mud as a result of questionable allegations that do not concern him.
On the bare face of it, the allegations do not look great for Farah. A BBC documentary accused Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar of issuing performance enhancing drugs to another athlete, American Galen Rupp, back in 2002. More recently, the Daily Mail led with a story that Farah had missed two drug tests, one in 2010, and another in 2011, the second of which while he was training under Salazar.
Those aspiring Sherlock’s out there (of which there may be some at the Daily Mail) could easily try and add two and two together to suggest that Farah has questions to answer. As ever though, the stories are more complex than the headlines would suggest.
For Farah’s part, he has told the world that he has spoken to Salazar about the initial allegations, and has received assurances from his coach that the allegations are false. Farah clearly believes in these assurances. Even if he wasn’t directly implicated, he would surely have left Salazar if he wasn’t certain that Salazar was telling the truth, and had the evidence to prove it.
Some athletes have suggested Farah should leave anyway, but Farah was enjoyed major success under Salazar, and it seems he won’t leave unless he has definitive proof that Salazar is guilty.
On the second set of allegations, it is worth knowing a little bit about the drug-testing system. As well as being tested at competitions and events, athletes are also randomly tested throughout their out-of-competition activities.
These tests could occur several times in the space of a few weeks, or only once over the course of a few months. The trick for the authorities is to make sure that athletes can’t plan ahead, and take illegal substances when they know they won’t be tested, or when they know the substances won’t appear on tests.
Dissertation Genius Llc An athlete is hence obliged to submit a calendar to the authorities, telling them exactly where they will be for one hour every day for the next three months. The authorities will need the exact address, phone number, hotel room etc.
Primary Homework Help Roman Mosaics Now for somebody with an average job whose life revolves between home and work, this probably wouldn’t be too hard, but for athletes competing in events around the world, undertaking training regimes up and down the country and overseas, three months is a long time to plan ahead and keep on schedule.
For athletes, noting down every house they will be at, every hotel in every city they will be in for the next three months, with all the address and contact details for every single place, is a long and time consuming business. And if there is a sudden change of plans, whether it’s a visit to the doctors, or a bereavement, or picking up a child from school, it can be easy to forget to notify the authorities, who might happen to visit for a test just as you leave the house.
This is how athletes end up missing random tests, and Farah is only one of hundreds if not thousands of athletes that have accidentally missed a test. The rules state that if an athlete misses three tests in the space of twelve months, a ban of potentially as much as four years could be imposed.
Clearly this does not apply to Farah, and the man himself has stated on Friday that the authorities understood why he missed the tests, and that in his career he has taken hundreds of tests, passing every one of them.
The authorities also use ‘biological passports’, where (in very simple terms) an athlete’s biological profile is put on a database, and where tests can prove if there are changes to that profile. It does not necessarily detect drugs, but it can detect changes in an athlete’s blood values that can be explained by drug taking. Once again, Farah has not had his passport flagged.
With all these details, it would appear that Farah has nothing to hide and nothing to fear. The allegations regarding Salazar however will not go away until there is definitive proof of whether Salazar has issued drugs to his athletes or not, and if he is found guilty, Farah will come under greater scrutiny about what he knows, and whether he may have cheated. Farah will know this, so he clearly believes Salazar can prove he is not guilty, or he would have left him already.
British athletics can only hope this is the case. Farah is one of Britain’s most successful athletes in history, and the idea he may have cheated to earn that success will give everyone in British athletics sleepless nights.
This story is of course only the latest in a long line of recent stories regarding drug-taking in athletic powerhouses like the USA, Jamaica, Russia and Kenya, and it is easy to fear that there is one more story bubbling under the surface that could blow the sport apart if it is uncovered. If so, the future of athletics will be on the line like it has never been before.