Six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has labelled a proposal to reset athletics world records, in response to the doping crisis in the sport, as “pointless”.
UK Athletics called for all world records to be scrapped and started again earlier this week as part of its “Manifesto for Clean Athletes”, in an attempt to revitalise a sport which has been stung by drugs cover-ups and corruption scandals in recent months.
The President of European Athletics, Norway’s Svein Arne Hansen, has also suggested examining European records as part of a “cultural revolution” in the sport.
Paula Radcliffe, whose women’s marathon world record has stood since 2003, is also among those to have criticised any suggestion of changing the history books.
She has now been joined by Jamaica’s 11-time world champion Bolt, the biggest name in the sport, with the sprinter being equally dismissive of the idea.
Under the proposal he would lose his men’s 100 metres and 200m world records of 9.58 and 19.19 sec respectively, as well as his share of Jamaica’s 4x100m time of 36.84.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s really pointless,” he told Reuters.
“What’s done is done.
“You have to just move forward and try to make the upcoming Championships and Olympics, and the next world records, as best as we can and just look forward to the future.
“You can’t worry about the past, but try to build on the future.”
The idea of resetting world records was first proposed by several countries in the wake of the scandal that followed Canada’s Ben Johnson testing positive for anabolic steroids.
He was stripped of his Olympic 100m gold medal at Seoul 1988.
UK Athletics suggested the move following the life bans issued by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Ethics Commission to three officials last week, following allegations of blackmail and doping cover-ups.
Papa Massata Diack, the consultant and son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, former IAAF treasurer and All-Russia Athletic Federation President Valentin Balakhnichev, previously the Soviet national athletics coach from 1978 to 1984, and race-walking coach Alexei Melnikov were all handed the sanction.
In addition, former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dollé received a five-year suspension for his part in the scandal.
The news came prior to the publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission’s second report related to corruption within the IAAF on Thursday (January 14).
Richard Pound, who led the Commission, outlined that the IAAF’s ruling Council under their former President Diack could not have been unaware that something was wrong involving Russian athletes suspected of having failed drugs tests.
He gave his support, however, to IAAF President Sebastian Coe to lead the organisation forward, despite the Briton being a member of the Council as a vice-president.
Reflecting on the corruption present in the sport’s governing body, Bolt admitted to feeling let-down by the IAAF.
“When I heard it was quite shocking for me to hear that because as far as I was concerned I think they were doing a good job to clean up the sport,” he said.
“So for me to hear something like this was quite shocking and you feel let down as an athlete to be wanting to actually help clean up the sport, and then something like this to come up about the body.”
- By Michael Pavitt, this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz