It would appear that in the world of athletics honesty pays even if your cheat; pays in more ways than one.
Former World 100 meters and 200 metres sprint champion Tyson Gay has been handed a very lenient 1 year ban backdated to June 23 2013 after he tested positive in the United States to a banned substance.
This means that Gay will now be available to run in all the major athletics events of 2014, including the Glasgow Grand Prix in July. He will also be available for the next world championships and the Olympic Games, although at 31 years old his ageing body may well work against him.
He was facing a minimum two year ban but was handed the lighter penalty because he admitted the offence and co-operated with the US Anti Doping Authority. However he and his 4 X 100m relay team mates will have to return their silver medal won in 2012 on the back of his admission.
Certainly his honesty will pay him back financially by being allowed back into top flight competition a great deal sooner than many fans feel he should have been.
Many feel that the ban has made a mockery of the sport and the sprint events, especially as fellow sprinter and former World Record holder Asafa Powell received an 18 month ban.
It has been pointed out that should Tyson Gay run at the Glasgow meet, he would not be the first American drug cheat to appear at Hampden Park. Boxer Mike Tyson admitting in his autobiography that he was “high on blow” – Cocaine – when he knocked out Lou Saverese, and used a false penis and someone else’s urine to fool the drug testers.
One cannot help but feel the cheats are still always one step ahead of testers, and that the punishments are an insult to fans and those who play by the rules.