Doping: Long jump great Mike Powell slams record rewrite plans
American Mike Powell, whose long jump world record stands since 1991, has warned the world athletics body of legal action if they erase the mark he set at the Tokyo world championships.Updated: May 06, 2017 19:55 IST
Long jump world record-holder Mike Powell said plans to rewrite world records set before 2005 are “a slap in the face” and vowed on Wednesday to fight the move. European Athletics has proposed that only world records that stand up to strict criteria should be recognised in order to make a clean break with the sport’s doping scandals.
Powell, who jumped 8.95 metres at the Tokyo world athletics championships in August 1991 to erase Bob Beamon’s mark set at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, said the proposals were “disrespectful, an injustice and a slap in the face”.
“I’ve already contacted my attorney,” the American, 53, told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Powell agrees some records questionable
“There are some records out there that are kind of questionable, I can see that, but mine is the real deal. It’s a story of human heart and guts, one of the greatest moments in the sport’s history.
“They would be destroying so many things with this decision, without thinking about it. It’s wrong. Regardless of what happens, I am going to fight.”
Under the proposals, world records will only stand if set at approved international events and if the athletes concerned had undergone a certain number of doping tests prior to competing.
The plans are due to be considered by the world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in August.
Powell set his world record during a thrilling contest with US teammate Carl Lewis. He broke Beamon’s mark of 8.90m, which stood for 23 years.
Campbell welcomes Europe call
However, Briton Darren Campbell, 4x100m relay gold medallist at the 2004 Athens Games, has welcomed European Athletics’ proposal to rewrite majority of the pre-2005 world records, which he felt would be for the “greater good”.
The European athletics body called for increased doping control measures in the new record ratification rules proposal on Monday, which could also have an impact on existing marks.
Campbell happy to give up
Campbell, who could lose his 4x100m European record from 1999, believes the proposal is worth the sacrifice. “I will sacrifice whatever it takes to save the sport and give its credibility back,” he told BBC Radio 5 live. “I’ve thought about it, put myself in their shoes of losing a record, and yes, I’ve lost medals and you kind of go, ‘OK it’s for the greater good’. You have to accept it and move on.
“Records are there to be broken and some of those records can’t be broken unless you’re taking drugs.”
Campbell wants the authorities to build on the initial proposal, saying tougher laws must be implemented for the sport to move past the doping scandals.
“We need to know how it is going to save the sport. We don’t want to end up right back here in 20 years,” he added. “It is radical, it is a recommendation, but tell me how it’s going to save the sport? That is the important thing.”
European Athletics will forward the proposal to the IAAF, which will study it at its Council meeting in August.
US athletics body for study
US athletics officials want to study the ramifications of the European proposal, given it would also affect those who have never failed doping tests. “Any action pertaining to records, from ‘retirement’ of records to changing criteria for the record books, has the potential to affect records that are clean as well as those that are tainted,” USA Track & Field spokeswoman Jill Geer said in a statement to Reuters.
“There is no perfect solution, just as there is no perfect anti-doping system.”
Florence-Griffith Joyner’s husband upset
The husband of late sprint queen Florence Griffith Joyner has vowed to fight moves by international athletics chiefs which could erase her long-standing world records, the Wall Street Journal has reported. Al Joyner, the 1984 Olympic triple jump champion, who was married to the sprinter from 1987 until her sudden death in 1998, said attempts to invalidate world records set before an as-yet-undetermined date were unfair.
Joyner, 57, said he was frustrated “to see how someone with a stroke of a pen, can go change history”.
“That’s dishonoring my family,” he said. “I will fight tooth and nail. I will find every legal opportunity that I can find. I will fight it like I am training for an Olympic gold medal.”