This System Fails the Kids

News came out in the last couple of days that two kids,  Olga and Yelena Paushkina of Russia, flunked doping tests. One, Yelena, was the gold medal winner at the Europe Youth Olympic Festival.  Her twin was a 4:25 1600M runner.

I can imagine that parents and coaches in the States are saying, "Yeah, that's over there, though."

I wonder. The pressure to win overwhelms common sense too frequently, and not just overseas. People are people, regardless of origin. The human genome is a remarkably homogenous mish-mash of DNA.

We have teenagers signing pro contracts. Pros are expected to win, perhaps not immediately, but eventually, and there's none of the "scholar-athlete" excuses to be made. We know that high school athletes in football, basketball, and baseball have been busted for steroids. It's not that large a leap to think that a near great runner is experimenting with PEDs.

It's a shame, both for the runner who's health is being risked, but also to the clean athletes who are competing uphill. And, even if they are successful, the misbehavior of the others potentially taints their accomplishments. Go to message boards like those at and you'll see the suspicion.

I want my sport clean. If that means fewer World Records, so be it. Immortality doesn't come with asterisks. It takes drive, dedication, hard work, and more luck than a record-holder might want to admit.