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Off The Ball: Usain Bolt gold doesn't alter grim reality

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Usain Bolt pips Justin Gatlin to gold in the World Championship men’s 100m final – four of the nine finalists in Beijing have been convicted of doping

Usain Bolt pips Justin Gatlin to gold in the World Championship men’s 100m final – four of the nine finalists in Beijing have been convicted of doping

Usain Bolt pips Justin Gatlin to gold in the World Championship men’s 100m final – four of the nine finalists in Beijing have been convicted of doping

There has been much talk of Usain Bolt and the saving of his sport in recent days. It seems many have taken their lead from Steve Cram on the BBC commentary, "And Bolt gets it! He's saved his title! He's saved his reputation! He may have even saved his sport!"

I didn't really mind that Cram was so blatantly anti-Gatlin. Most of us are.

Instinctively we all feel there is something very disturbing about the 33-year-old running faster times than he managed back in 2005, a year before he tested positive for testosterone.

He claims he was sabotaged, I should mention. But to suggest that Bolt has done anything more than save the blushes of some very grateful IAAF folk is seriously pushing it.

Let's take a step back from the result. This whole race was openly billed as a very straightforward morality play. For Bolt versus Gatlin, read good versus evil.

It was the presumably clean guy (but frankly who knows?) against the twice-convicted and unrepentant doper, who is currently defying laws of physiology. Here's the key point. It is irrelevant that the clean guy won. The issue is that the presumably clean guy is put in that ridiculous position in the first place.

That this was the accepted premise for the race only highlights its ruination. The sport has already lost. It has entered a farcical territory.

Even Seb Coe openly said he would feel queasy about handing gold over to Gatlin. At his next press conference I hope he's asked if silver is much better? Because the guys who tied for third can't think their sport was saved on Sunday.

It has been so odd to see well thought-out articles which claim Bolt has maintained the credibility of the event. Of the nine finalists, four have been convicted of doping, Gatlin twice and he continues to earn millions.

Ultimately, I was happy to see Bolt win, but part of me wanted Gatlin to steamroll the field too. Sheer unavoidable embarrassment might kick-start some kind of IAAF action.

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Perversely, it was one of the most watched 100m finals in years. The marketability of the morality play is good for economics, so embarrassment is the only hope for reform.

The 200m final is on tomorrow night. Once again, it's Bolt versus Gatlin with many feeling Mr Evil has the edge given the injury-plagued season Mr Good has endured. So I guess if the sport was possibly saved on Sunday, Steve Cram will announce its ruination on Thursday?


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