Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Photographers' Blog:

Gaining Ben Johnson’s trust

(Editor's note: Gary Hershorn, now Global Editor, Sports Pictures, for Reuters, has covered sport for 35 years. A Canadian, he gained the trust of compatriot Ben Johnson in the run-up to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and had special access to the sprinter's training. Here, Hershorn, looks back at that time and at Johnson's downfall.)

By Gary Hershorn

Standing shirtless on the training track, Ben Johnson looked at me, then dropped his running shorts. He stared at me, apparently willing me to take a picture and prove I was just another paparazzo desperate to get a sensational shot of the world's most famous athlete ahead of the Seoul Olympics.

I stared back but did not put my camera to my face. Training over, Johnson told me everything was fine and I could come back and watch him train as often as I liked. I had, it seemed, passed the test and won his trust. Johnson, who generally distrusted the media, completely opened up that July, telling me what time he would train each day, showing up on time and taking me inside his private world, to the weight room and massage room.

Toronto, where I was working, was also Johnson's home. Knowing that pictures of him, the world champion and world-record holder, would be published the world over I had set out to try to get exclusive time with him while he prepared for Seoul. With the help of sports journalist Mary Jollimore, who had been writing about Johnson for a number of years, I was able to spend time at the Toronto Track and Field training center with him and his fellow sprinters Desai Williams, Mark McKoy and Angela Taylor.

Drugs no help in surfing, says world champ

Photo

World surfing champion Kelly Slater is happy to abide by new doping regulations being implemented in his sport but he doubts whether performance-enhancing drugs would make anyone surf better.

Surfing’s image has always been clouded by images of wild lifestyles, of cashed-up athletes treading a fine line between partying and performing.

Armstrong re-retires, says no way back this time

Photo

ARMSTRONGIt’s been a sad week in sport in some ways, with two modern greats announcing their retirements with immediate effect.

Admittedly, we knew long ago that we’d already seen by far the best of both Ronaldo, who called it a day on Monday, and Lance Armstrong, who announced on Wednesday his “retirement 2.0″.

Contador provisionally suspended, cycling holds its breath

Photo

CYCLING-SAXO/CONTADORTour de France winner Alberto Contador returned an “adverse analytical finding” for clenbuterol following an analysis of a urine sample taken during an in-competition test on the second rest day of July’s race, the International Cycling Union said on Thursday. 

The concentration was “400 time(s) less than what the antidoping laboratories accredited by WADA must be able to detect,” the UCI said in a statement. 

Gatlin’s return throws up 100 metres quandary

Photo

RTR2H0FK[1]GATLINS

If Justin Gatlin, back in action this week after a four-year doping ban, were to line up alongside Jamaican Usain Bolt in the 2012 Olympic 100 metres final in London, who would American fans want to win?

Having served his time, is former world and Olympic champion Gatlin worthy of his place or, as some have suggested, should all convicted dopers be forced to pin a massive asterisk on their vest to remind the world of how they made it to the top?

Rules support loss of medals for Cox’s U.S. relay team

Photo

Rules in place at the time of the 2004 Olympics make it increasingly likely all members of the U.S. women’s 4×400 metres relay team will lose their gold medals because of last week’s doping suspension of alternate Crystal Cox.

Rule 39.2 of IAAF Competition Rules 2004-2005, which governed athletics participation at the Athens Games, clearly calls for the loss of medals if a team member violates anti-doping rules. 

McGwire the latest in line for smooth rehabilitation

Photo

BASEBALL/MCGWIREAmerica knows how to ‘do hype’ and the Stateside public lap up a good scandal but when it comes to cheating by use of performance enhancing drugs, the appetite for mass media coverage seems to vanish.

At the end of 2009, there wasn’t a website or newspaper in the States, whether celebrity gossip, high-brow politics or sports-obsessed that wasn’t delivering real-time updates on the infidelities of a golfer. America couldn’t get enough of the Tiger Woods story which, in the end, consisted of little more significant than a sorry list of rather mundane affairs.

Five defining moments from a decade of sport

Photo

As the decade draws to a close, we pick five sporting moments which have defined the last 10 years.

1. Cathy Freeman lit the Olympic flame at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, a Games set in a country which embraces the outdoor life and punches well above its weight in most sports.

Agassi’s confessions could have knock-on effect for Serena

Photo

agassiAndre Agassi’s decision to open his soul and tell the world he took drugs and then hoodwinked his governing body, the ATP, into believing his failed drugs test in 1997 was a mere mistake could not have come at a worse time for Australian and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.

While Agassi has been condemned by players and pundits alike for tainting the image of his sport, tennis authorities have come under fire for not investigating the matter thoroughly and believing Agassi’s lies.

from The Great Debate UK:

Gates closing for commercial partners in sport

Simon Chadwick- Professor Simon Chadwick, Director, Centre for the International Business of Sport, Coventry, UK. The opinions expressed are his own. -

This summer’s Tour de France was truly historic: the race finished without anyone having returned a positive dope test. Monumental! In a sport seemingly beset with drug problems, professional cycling appeared to have turned the corner, started over, seen the error of its ways, cleaned up its act etc.

  •