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Ato Boldon not feeling track and field anymore

16 June 2007

By Gary Smith

Former Olympic 100m silver medallist Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago has said that his passion for the sport he once loved dearly is slowly migrating because of the abuse it has received from top athletes.

The Trinidadian, who also won a gold medal in the 200m at the World Championships in Athens in 1997, a year after taking two bronze medal in the sprints at the Atlanta Olympic Games, is disturbed that track and field had lost its sentiments and is annoyed at the fact that its followers are comparing the bootleg performances with the great feats accomplished by those who had and indeed, are still willing to work hard to become champions.

"Like many other track fans, after the 2004 Olympic 100m Champion was busted, I cashed in my “love-chips” for track and field," Bolton writes on HellenicAthletes.com. "'How can I continue to love something so much that I can never trust?' I asked myself.

"As a former track athlete, I cringe when people dismiss great performances with the dreaded “it must be drugs” tag. When Justin Gatlin was busted in 2006, I had just 24 hours earlier defended both him and his generation of sprinters for beginning to distance themselves from what I call 'The Balco Era'.

"I love this sport more than most other things in life, but the constant heartbreak, from the “Balco Bunch” to the Olympic Champion – how much could one person take?"

For those out there who try to compare track and field with any other activity, which led them to believe that the sport and all those involved are frauds, Boldon had a word for them too.

"Evangelists and even a casual fan might tend to think that track and field is a fraud. Professional Wrestling is a fraud. Track and Field is legit," he said.

"We have some of the most talented humans on the planet competing in our sport – a few of whom try to cut corners. Don’t believe idiots like the already-convicted Victor Conte, who will open his mouth to say anything that will keep him in the news and erase the fact that he has very limited knowledge of what it takes to run fast – none of his clients in track were that impressive, even when juiced to the max," he added.

With the sport being blessed with such talents as Asafa Powell, the Jamaican world record holder in the 100m, as well as Americans Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Veronica Campbell, Usain Bolt, Xavier Carter, among others, the world of sprinting is still in good hands.

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