media_artricles :: 2017
Boldon: Just do it the right wayRachael Thomspon-King :: Trinidad Guardian :: 26.01.2017
"Just do it the right way. Do it cleanly."
Words from Olympian Ato Boldon, or more of a message, from the four-time Olympic medal winner, on learning of the Jamaican 4x100 metres team of Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell losing its Olympic gold medal won at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games because of a doping case involving Carter.
The IOC reported yesterday that Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, in re-analysis of samples from the Beijing Olympics.
Olympic rules state that the entire relay team can be disqualified and stripped of medals if one runner fails a doping test. The Jamaicans had set a world record of 37.10 seconds with Carter running the opening leg.
"I don't know how to feel. As an ambassador for the sport, I am happy when we punish those who cheat at the end of the Games but as an ambassador for the sport, this is our biggest icon and our greatest sprinter ever. He's lost one of his nine gold medals obviously. The other conflict in that feeling is that I know the guys who went out there and did it the right way in 2008 and they now have gold medals."
It's likely a bittersweet feeling among the T&T quartet of Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman as the delayed announcement took away from the moment which unfolded years ago at the Bird's Nest in Beijing, when they placed second in 38.06. The other member of that squad was Aaron Armstrong.
"They would've felt that it would have been a lot better to have a big celebration seven years ago in the middle of Port-of-Spain with T&T's first Olympic gold in the relay so I think a lot of people will have to take a few days to process this one," said the current national record holder in the 50, 60 and 200m events.
Boldon expressed some sympathy for Bolt and said it does not take away from the greatness of the Jamaican.
"He has already said publicly that, 'that's life' and you can't do anything about what somebody else did. He has proven that he has done it cleanly, but I think in private, he will be disappointed because he made a big deal about this triple-triple and that's a big part of his legacy.
"Having nine gold medals is fantastic, but when you look at the case of Michael Johnson, who is also a legend, who also had a medal stripped because somebody on the 4x4 team with him in Sydney (Australia) tested positive, it didn't affect Michael's legacy really, so Usain should feel encouraged. I don't think anybody will look at Usain any differently. He is still the greatest to ever do it."
The former national sprinter advised that there is much that can be learned from this whole situation saying: "The bigger lesson is really persevere. This is a team that people will remember was fourth then promoted to third, then promoted to second. Now here they are at the top."
Boldon, who is now a ESPN and NBC Sports television broadcast analyst for track and field, was referring to T&T unit being upgraded officially last year to silver in the men's 4x100 relay event at the London Olympics.
So actually this is the second time that this T&T team has been promoted follwing an Olympic Games. In 2012, the quartet crossed fourth at the Games, was twice upgraded to earn the silver medal.
Initially, the local team moved from fourth to third after Canadian team of Justyn Warner, Garvin Smellie, Oluseyi Smith and Jared Connaughton, running the third leg and on the final turn, had taken a step on the lane line, automatically disqualifying them.
Three years later, news came that the entire US squad was stripped of its silver medal as a result of Tyson Gay's doping case.
The other members of that team were Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin and Ryan Bailey.
"Do it the right way and sometimes good things will happen," said Boldon.
T&T's Ato Boldon