New track CEO serious about doping crackdown
In every office he's ever worked in, Doug Logan hangs a photo of himself made up in clown makeup. It's a reminder not to take himself too seriously.
When it comes to doping, though, the new CEO of USA Track & Field is as serious as can be.
"The clear message that I plan to convey is: If you're cheating, get out," Logan said Friday. "If we don't address it -- and address it in an aggressive, impassioned way -- it's going to choke the life out of the sport."
Logan, the former commissioner and president of Major League Soccer, replaces Craig Masback, who left USATF in January. Logan wants to clean up track's reputation.
The sport has taken huge hits recently, with Marion Jones going to prison for lying to federal investigators about a check-fraud scam and using steroids, and coach Trevor Graham receiving a lifetime ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his role in helping athletes obtain performance-enhancing drugs.
"There is a large universe to it," Logan said in a teleconference. "I certainly hope that I can put my name on the roster of those people that are not only trying but actually making a difference with regard to ridding ourselves of this horrible, horrible plague that exists on all of the sports these days."
Logan led MLS from its startup year in 1995 through 1999. He helped secure several long-term sponsorship commitments and negotiated a five-year television deal.
He's hoping to apply what he learned at MLS to track.
"As opposed to soccer, track and field is not seen as something that is 'foreign.' It's seen as something that is native and a red-blooded American pastime," Logan said. "In certain ways, it's an easier sell than the sell we had with soccer."
Logan attended the recent Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore. -- a trip that sold him on track and field's potential.
"I've been to 11 Super Bowls and a lot of big-time competition," Logan said. "From the standpoint of the drama of competition and the involvement of the fan base and the festival-like spirit that existed out there, that was as magical an experience as any Super Bowl or World Cup or U.S. Open that I've been to. It was just marvelous."
But Logan acknowledges that right now fast times on the track sometimes are viewed with skepticism.
"It's a crying shame (athletes) have to be viewed underneath this tent of suspicion that we've got over any remarkable achievement that occurs," Logan said. "What we have to do is change this horrible climate of suspicion that exists over performance."
He aims to fix that problem.
"If you're suggesting as a coach or as an agent or as a personal manager to a young person to use some of these substances: Get out," Logan said. "We will find ways of getting these people out of the sport.
"What we need to do is create an environment where the young man or woman four lockers down -- that knows a person is dirty -- starts to feel they are comfortable to express their disdain for that individual. (We need to) be supportive of the 95, 96, 97 percent of those who are competing in a fair way and in a clean way."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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