Track and Field's "nice guy" Tyson Gay tested positive for an illegal substance over the weekend that makes him ineligible to represent the United States at the World Championships in Moscow next month. The news has disappointed track fans from around the world, and is an embarrassment to a sport that doesn't get a lot of press outside of the Olympics every four years. In fact, Gay's picture is still shown on the USADA's website promoting their organization "My Victory" where big-named athletes have promised to take on their sport without illegal performance enhancing drugs.
Personally, chatting with a couple former pro-athletes a couple years ago revealed to me that "everyone is doing it". How discouraging! Ryan Hall, Olympic marathoner, tweeted today "Not taking my daily multi vitamin this morning. Not worth the risk." This may be sarcasm, but it may be in reference to Gay's statement about how he was taking supplements a professional was providing him and wasn't aware that it contained an illegal substance. He said he is very careful about what he puts in his body but is confronting the results with acceptance and is seemingly willing to take responsibility for his actions (or his trainer's.
Track and Field is such a unique sport that displays every aspect of human performance - Citius, Altius, Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger. As an advocate of a sport with organizations that bring a sense of self-worth and discipline to so many youth throughout the country, this is a major dagger to the heart of the sport.
Pending results of a followup test, the USATF needs to make sure their punishment corresponds with the damage that situations like these do to their sport.