In a speech today in Scottsdale, Ariz., at a gathering of the dietary supplement and healthy food industries, USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan took a hard line with supplement makers over performancing enhancing drugs.
"Performance-enhancing drugs are threatening to choke the life out of the sport that I serve and love," said Logan. "And in many ways, the supplement industry has been assisting in braiding the noose."
Logan explained that unlike professional U.S. sports like baseball and football, where fans and journalists go lightly on doping offenders, athletics can't afford drug positives which cast a long shadow over the sport. He pointed out that athletes like Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery, who were once revered by fans only to have their careers end in disgrace, helped give the impression that the sport is dirty even if 99% of athletes are clean.
"If our sport doesn't set a course of brazen, vocal intolerance toward drugs, the viability of track and field on a go-forward basis is compromised," he said.
Logan told supplement makers that the time had come for their industry to be regulated, and that offering products which could be guaranteed to be free of performance-enhancing drugs was paramount. Athletes, he said, had become afraid to take legitimate supplements because of the fear that they could be tainted. He cited the case of Ergopharm, a supplement manufacturer and distributor, recently raided by federal agents. A former BALCO chemist, Patrick Arnold, was working there and authorities were trying to determine if he had put banned substances their products.
"Now, let me get this straight," said Logan. "Why in the world would a manufacturer of safe and healthy products hire a chemist who served three months in prison in 2006 in connection with the BALCO case?"
Logan, who began his term as CEO last July, did not mince words about those who would taint his sport through chemistry.
"I have two words for any person who uses, promotes or tacitly endorses the use of drugs by any athlete. GET OUT! Get out of our sport and out of our competitions."
NOTE: The full text of the speech can be read at: USATF.org.