PCP For – Should Teams Pay Consequences for Individuals

Hasan Ahmed -
Posted on: February 18, 2017

A little while ago, Jamaica was stripped of a gold medal in the 100 m from the 2008 Olympics, due to one of the members of the 100 meter relay team, Nesta Carter, testing positive for performance enhancing drugs (methylhexanamine, to be specific). Long story short, this drug seems to give an adrenaline boost to the user and make it easier for them to take in oxygen. Like any PED, it gives an advantage to the user, and a disadvantage to the opponents. Thus, Trinidad and Tobago could be given their rightful gold medal. Now, I agree with the Olympic Committee’s decision to take away the medal, for a few main reasons.

First, it looks bad on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if they don’t take the medal away. Especially since Jamaica is one of the highest supported country during the summer Olympics, failure to strip them of the medal could come across as favouritism towards that country, and not to mention, Usain Bolt. Bolt is no longer able to claim the title of triple champion for the sprinting events at the Olympics for three consecutive competitions, and that’s a price he had to pay for his teammate’s doping scandal. That can lead to accusations, and prevent people from watching the Olympics if they gave special treatment to Jamaica. With thousands of people watching the Olympics, and probably 10 times more watching the sprinting events, do you really want to show favouritism in front of your most captive audience?

Not only that, but taking away medals from cheaters will deter others from doing it. No one wants to be known as the guy/girl doping, and the price to pay if you are caught is too big a burden. Not to mention, you let your team down, which is extremely discouraging to re-participation. There may be legalities involved as well, and again, it’s too much for a person to bear. Besides, if you’re training for majority of your life in order to win the Olympics, you’d devalue all the hard work that you (and others) have put into the sport. What’s the point? Do you really need the PED? Or would you rather say to yourself, “Yeah, I earned that. I’m truly the best,” and feel great about yourself? There’s no excuse for cheating, period. Also, drug test samples are kept for 10 years and tested every once in a while. So if you think something you use today won’t be caught, think again. They can try again in a few years with new methods, and if they catch you, then you’ll face the same fate Carter did over the course of the past few weeks.

Stripping the medal away will also give justice to those who actually deserved it. If you were in the Olympics, and you came second to someone who was full of steroids, wouldn’t you want your rightful claim of the medal? I mean, assuming you’re not doping either, you would have probably come first if that person had not used PEDs. Besides, it makes you feel good about yourself, putting in pure hard work for your goals and achievements. Trinidad and Tobago are in a spot for gold, Japan for silver, and Brazil for bronze. The gold medal can’t be reassigned until Carter goes through the appeal process. Even if Carter DOES pass his appeal, and gets the decision overturned, then we know there was a truthful process behind it, and all can be set straight in the athletic world.

Also, who cares if Bolt can’t claim the title of triple repeat? His teammate caused the downfall of the title, but he seemed to react to it fine. He stated that, “Things happen in life, so when it’s confirmed or whatever, if I need to give back my gold medal I’d have to give it back, it’s not a problem for me.” Sounds like Usain knows how much hard work he puts into his own athletic regime, and is most likely upset with his teammate. All in all, he wanted the best for everybody, and as cocky as Bolt is, it gained a lot of respect from my point of view when he was aiming for justice. Not to mention he’s already regarded as the best sprinter of all time; I think a gold medal is a small price to pay in comparison to his athletic (and not to mention financial) status in the Olympic world.

However, just during this week, as I’ve already mentioned above, Carter has appealed AGAINST the doping ban, claiming he didn’t do it. Now this is where the grey area comes in for this PCP, as the medal has still been taken away from Jamaica. In my opinion, I agree with the IOC’s decision in keeping the medal away until he can be proven innocent. Jamaica has had a history of doping contestants. The most prime example I can name is Yohan Blake, who was essentially Jamaica’s second-in-command sprinter. Known mostly for his 100 m performance; although not a team event, he still put a heavy weight on Jamaica’s shoulders for upholding its reputation as a sprinting nation. When he was caught for using the same substance, that put strain on the sprinting nation. Thus, the IOC cannot take any chances with keeping the medal with Jamaica. We’ll see what happens after the appeal is decided, but for now, Jamaica is still disqualified from the 2008 Beijing 100 m relay race.

In the end of the day, I can relate this to academic integrity. Your work and effort gets devalued if someone plagiarizes the assignment and gets a higher mark than you. Wouldn’t that make you angry? I know I would be. Especially since there’s so much unspoken trust within the sporting community, you’d lose a lot of respect (as many athletes have in the past) for your performances. Lance Armstrong, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, and many other Olympic participants and medalists. I’d like to conclude by saying this medal stripping should not affect the whole country; just events where teamwork is the main factor (case in point: the 100 m relay).