Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Many Athletes Could Lose World Records Under New Guidelines

New rules proposed to the IAAF to combat doping in track and field could cause many world records set before 2005 to be reset.

Future world records may be subject to new criteria before being ratified, according to a report by The Guardian. The suggested rules are meant to ensure that record-setting performances are not tainted by doping. However they may nullify many previous world records.

Under the new guidelines, World and European records would only be ratified if the athlete who achieved them had been tested a certain number of times in the months prior to their record. (The number of tests are likely to be six, according to The Guardian’s report.) Athletes will also be required to have a sample stored and available for re-testing for 10 years. Finally, new records will need to be set during approved international events.

The Guardian also notes that European Athletics has suggested that “record recognition be withdrawn at any time if an athlete commits a doping or integrity violation.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has only stored samples since 2005, which means that any records set before are at risk of being wiped out. On the men’s side, this includes all Hicham El Guerrouj’s records, most notably his mile time of 3:43.13 set in 1999, as well as Kenenisa Bekele’s 5000 meter time of 12:37.35 set in 2004. Many women’s world records were also set before 2005, including Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 marathon world record and Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 100- and 200-meter performances, set back in 1988. Any records set after 2005 will have to meet the same criteria.

While the aim is to weed out any records that may have been set using performance enhancing drugs, clean performances could get erased in the process.

Pierce O’Callaghan, leader of the European Athletics project team, told The Guardian that the new rules are “not casting doubt on the previous records at all, just saying the criteria has changed. In order for the sport to move forward we needed to take a radical step to regain the public’s trust.”

Reaction on the rule change was mixed. Coach Steve Magness, who was a former employee with the Oregon Project, said on Twitter, that it was “a worthwhile idea but not time for it yet.”

Recently retired pro-runner and clean sport advocate Lauren Fleshman was skeptical, noting that the rules do not address current cheating efforts and will likely be used to market races providing new world-record attempts.

The new proposals do not encompass American records, which have their own doping protocols. The guidelines are expected to be approved by the IAAF in July and will take 12 months to implement.

RELATED: Athletes, Coaches, Advocates Support Launch of Clean Sport Collective