I first spoke to Ben Johnson about an anti-doping project around six months ago and it was clear he was engaged and committed. His insight into the problems was fascinating and he plainly wanted to be involved. While SKINS is promoting the campaign around the world for the next month, Ben isn’t taking a penny for his involvement. That’s because 25 years on, he recognises that nothing has changed and now he wants to do something about it. He has matured, he has understood more about the issues and the dangers and watched on as the administrators have done little about tackling the real causes.
The campaign is called #ChooseTheRightTrack and it will propose a series of points that we believe are required if sport is to get a grip of doping and maintain the integrity of sport. 25 years ago, Ben and his peers had no independent support. It was just the athlete, their coaches and their team-mates and it’s still the same now. Our campaign proposes an Athlete Support Council which will provide support for athletes who require it and a chance for competitors and administrators to finally begin to bridge the cultural chasm that still exists between them.
The campaign will also be proposing an independent mandate and appropriate funding for the World Anti-Doping Agency, (WADA) so they may fulfill their potential in managing a global process to combat doping. Finally, we’ll also be talking about a process that’s akin to Truth & Reconciliation whereby certain sports can utilise the experiences of athletes who have doped to garner knowledge, improve their processes and do it in a way that allows athletes to talk freely without fear of retribution.
We believe the campaign reflects the views of millions of sports fans across the world and we’re asking you – and them – to join us by signing a petition for change. A recent survey we conducted suggests people have had enough and the outcome of too many victories is shrouded in too much doubt for them to be enjoyed in the way they should be.
So over the next few weeks, until we take Ben back to Seoul on the 25th anniversary of the 100 metres final to visit the stadium in which he ran that infamous race, I’d be delighted if you’d follow us on our journey through social media channels and our campaign website at puresport.skins.net.
If you agree with the principles that we’re promoting – and I’m certain that millions of sports fans do – please sign the petition. We want you to be involved and be part of a movement which advocates a change in approach that means fans across the world can regain the trust in their favourite sports, favourite teams and their athletic heroes.
Keep tuning in. It should be fun and there’ll be some surprises along the way.