Frank Shorter would never say it himself but he really should have two gold medals. Shorter won the 1972 Olympic Marathon in Munich West Germany, and four years later in Montreal he finished second to East German runner Waldemar Cierpinski, who was later implicated in that country's systematic doping program.
Cierpinski repeated as the Olympic Marathon champion in Moscow in 1980 and Shorter later became a leader in the fight against the use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes.
Shorter is the former chairman of the United States Anti-doping Agency and he's closely watching the case of Rita Jeptoo, a world class Kenyan marathoner, who is a three-time Boston Marathon winner and also won the Chicago Marathon twice.
But she's also tested positive twice for the blood booster EPO.
It's news that has overshadowed to some extent the year in marathon running, which features a rare American win at the Boston Marathon and men's world record in Berlin.
But this case, according to Shorter, offers a window for real action to make sure the world's biggest marathons, which feature dozens of world class African runners, will stay clean.
The plan he's suggesting would involve all of the world's major marathons. They're run in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin and New York. Shorter says those races should demand that any athlete who wants to compete should be part of a registered drug testing pool. Then an accredited anti-doping agency would test them regularly, ensuring fairness.
"It's a privilege to be in these races, you don't have a right to run in these races," Shorter said, "and so you can require people to do certain things to run in your race."
Kenya's athletics federation will hold a hearing on Jeptoo's case in January. The first major marathon of the year will be run in Tokyo on February 22, 2015.
Here and Now's "Marathon Man" Alex Ashlock reports.
This segment aired on December 25, 2014.
Support the news
Support the news