Two undercover journalists offered an Olympic hopeful athlete access to an elite training camp, where 15-20% of the camp profit would go to the company and that a doctor would be arranged to provide doping products. (1)
The athlete, Mustafa Mohamed immediately said he was not interested, that he had never doped, and would never get involved in anything of that nature. He declined their offer to sleep on it. He told them he ran “for passion, not for money or fame”.
Mustafa Mohamed is a Somali-Swedish long-distance runner who mainly competes in the 3000 meter steeplechase.
If journalists can help bring real dopers to justice they are doing a favour to the sport. Journalists like David Walsh from the Sunday Times, did a good job in constant questioning of people like Lance Armstrong and trying to uncover the truth.
However, one thing about doping in the media is that it is nearly always the dopers who make the headlines. The people most quoted on the subject of doping are usually the doctors / athletes involved; and they can have a vested interest in trying to allege doping is widespread and ‘everyone is at’ – A form of justification for their own doping.
This can create an impression that ‘Everyone is at it’. If we are not careful, it is possible to become overly cynical and lazily assume everyone is doping or at least become super-suspicious. However, this is unfair on clean athletes and not helpful for promoting a climate of clean sport.
It is as wrong to cover up / ignore doping, it is also wrong to paint everyone with the same brush.
Mustafa Mohamed was interviewed by two undercover journalists, trying to find if an associate of Mo Farah could be implicated in doping.
Mustafa spoke for many clean athletes when he says he ran:
“for passion, not for money or fame”.
This story won’t make the newspaper headlines, but we have to remember that whilst there are athletes who try to cheat and corrupt the ideals of sport, there are also athletes who want to compete in a honest way.