IAAF crisis a big worry for Bolt … Slams moves to reset world records

first_imgTrack and field’s golden boy, Usain Bolt, says he felt ‘let down’ by the sport’s leaders following recent doping and bribery controversies but thinks that suggestions to reset the world records – including the three that he currently holds are pointless. Bolt, who was on Friday evening named the 2015 RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year, admitted shock at the crisis currently engulfing the sport with former IAAF president Lamine Diack currently facing criminal investigations around allegations he accepted bribes to sweep positive drugs tests under the carpet. The issues affecting the sport have also seen Russia being banned from competition after being accusations of a state-backed, systematic doping system. This led to UK Athletics last week releasing a document ‘A Manifesto for clean athletics’ detailing several proposals, it believes will protect clean athletes and recover the sport’s credibility, including a controversial suggestion to wipe the record books clean. The Jamaican sprinter, whose world records in the 100m (9.58), 200m (19.19) and as a member of the Jamaican 4x100m that ran 36.84 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, would be wiped if UK Athletics has its way, admitted shock at the crisis. “When I heard the news it was quite shocking because as far as I was concerned, they were doing a good job to clean up the sport and to hear something like that was quite shocking,” Bolt said of the troubles plaguing his sport. “You feel let down as an athlete, from wanting to help clean up the sport and then for something like this to happen coming from the body of the sport,” Bolt noted. The six-time Olympic and 11-time World Championships gold medal winner, however, thinks that the suggestions to erase the world records is pointless and thinks the focus should be on ensuring that the sport’s future is a positive one. “I found it really funny, as my coach would say, you can’t change history so what they are saying (suggestions to erase records) is really pointless. What’s done is done we have to just move forward and try to make the next Olympics and World Championships and records as best as we can and look to the future. We can’t worry about the past,” Bolt added.last_img read more

Tuskegee Airmen get nation’s salute

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush and Congress awarded the Tuskegee Airmen one of the nation’s highest honors Thursday for fighting to defend their country even as they faced bigotry at home. “For all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities … I salute you for your service to the United States of America,” Bush told the legendary black aviators, standing in salute as some 300 of them stood to return the gesture. At a ceremony in the sun-filled Capitol Rotunda, Bush then joined congressional leaders and other dignitaries in awarding the veterans _ most of them in their 80s _ the Congressional Gold Medal. “We are so overjoyed,” said Ret. Capt. Roscoe Brown Jr., after he and five other airmen accepted the medal on behalf of the group. “We are so proud today, and I think America is proud today.” Nearly 1,000 fighter pilots trained as a segregated Army Air Corps unit at the Tuskegee, Ala., air base. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had overruled his top generals and ordered that such a program be created. Even after the black airmen were admitted, many commanders continued to believe they didn’t have the intelligence, courage and patriotism to do what was being asked of them. Not allowed to practice or fight with their white counterparts, the Tuskegee Airmen distinguished themselves by painting the tails of their airplanes red, which led to them becoming known as the “Red Tails.” Hundreds saw combat throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, escorting bomber aircraft on missions and protecting them from the enemy. Dozens died in the fighting; others were held prisoners of war. “You caused America to look in the mirror of its soul and you showed America that there was nothing a black person couldn’t do,” said Colin Powell, a retired Army general and Bush’s former secretary of state. Powell, who is black, thanked the airmen for paving the way for his career. Charles “A-Train” Dryden, 86, a retired lieutenant colonel from Atlanta, expressed mixed feelings that the honor came so long after the war and that many of his colleagues had died without knowing that Americans appreciated their service. Just a couple of days ago, he said, a fellow pilot was hospitalized in Atlanta and couldn’t attend the ceremony. “So many of the guys have passed on,” he said. Dryden recalled his pride in returning from Africa and Europe after serving in Tuskegee’s original 99th Fighter Squadron, only to be stationed in Walterboro, S.C., where he saw German prisoners of war get privileges in theaters and cafeterias that were denied to black soldiers. “That was the low point of my career,” said Dryden, who uses a wheelchair. Thursday’s medal has helped convince him that the country recognizes the airmen’s contributions. “It’s really something,” he said at a breakfast before the ceremony. Congress has awarded gold medals to more than 300 individuals and groups since giving the first one to George Washington in 1776. Originally, they went only to military leaders, but Congress broadened the scope to include authors, entertainers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants and foreign officials. The medal for the airmen, made possible through legislation by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and signed last year by Bush, will go to the Smithsonian Institution for display. Individual airmen will receive bronze replicas. “It means a lot to a lot of people,” said Ret. Maj. George M. Boyd, 80, of Wichita, Kan., a Tuskegee pilot and adjutant who served 28 years in the military, including in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. “There was so much resting on our success or failure.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more