Sport is supposed to, and used to hold athletes to standards. To participate in a sport you were expected to train, in order to compete you were expected to qualify, to prove that you were worthy to engage in competition.
Over time, the standards were loosened to encourage participation, to encourage both younger and older to become involved in sport.
Now, standards are almost non existent and as a result, sport is less sport and has become more entertainment. No different than showing up to a concert, sporting events are marketing themselves as experiences were preparation is not necessary because the point is to cross a finish line, how you cross the finish line is irrelevant. Coaching standards do not exist any longer, as today coaches do not actually coach, they prepare those eager to participate in a sporting event using every conceivable short cut as the goal is to survive, not to thrive, not to excel, not to actually train and race as an athlete. Its entertainment, its a bucket list item… whatever it is, it sure ain’t about becoming better, improving, developing, and it sure ain’t about pursuing one’s potential.
The illusion being sold is that by participating without training doesn’t change the experience: the experience of the event will be no different between you and an athlete [athlete as in an individual who has trained sufficiently & appropriately, one who has gained and trained the sport specific skills to excel]. It ain’t. Its a lie. Its a lie told to sell registration in the event, its a lie told to profit off the popularity of participating in events.
Because standards of competitor worthiness has fallen, and continue to fall, training has become the losing / losers approach to racing. Cheating, stealing, and lying have taken over; they are now the short cuts used by more event participants to make it to the finish line, and sometimes even the start line.
As I blogged recently, at the MEC Burlington Run Series Race #1 in late April, cheaters were everywhere… in the 3.75km race stealing positions and podiums from the other event participants who raced honestly, from children who raced honestly, and it was no different in the 10.2km event as the timing company Speed River Timing shared that the top 5 women were removed for course cutting, as was the top male finisher. How many others… I don’t think MEC would want the real stats revealed because it would likely turn off those who compete honestly from competing again… what’s the point when so many disrespect themselves, the event, and all their competitors. What’s an event where cheating has become normal? Not a sporting event thats for sure.
A Google search of triathletes cheating reveals how far we have fallen:
This is just in the sport of triathlon. If you Google cheats or banned athletes in the sports of running and cycling… the list of not just professionals, but amateur athletes caught with motors in their bikes (in non e-bike events), or testing positive for WADA banned performance enhancing substances, or simply deciding to course cut is lengthy. Why so many cheaters? Because all they really want is the participant medal, the finish line selfee, the Instagram or Fb post. What matters is that they were there, they crossed the finish line… as if it means something without training.
What I don’t get it… is how do cheaters reconcile that cheating, lying, stealing, tampering with the equipment of another athlete – that’s right cheating to the point that you are willing to gamble with the life of another – have anything to do with living an active healthy (i.e. mentally healthy) lifestyle? Can you honestly be mentally and emotionally healthy… if you are cheater?
What kind of delusion are we living in? This is not healthy, its nowhere close to anything close to being healthy. In one case of a banned athlete the extent of their mental dis-ease came out in articles revealing the parallel between the athlete’s unsportsmanlike behaviour to the fact that the athlete also received disciplinary action from their professional regulatory body for inappropriate behaviour. Its delusional to think you are one person on weekends or at an event, and another at work or at home. You may think cheating at an event doesn’t reflect on you, that you can cheat and ‘get away with it’, but the reality is that you are living in denial, convinced that you are physically healthy, mentally & emotionally stable. Here’s a clue… ya ain’t.
Now I read about Ironman Texas. A posted highway cam gif from IMTX shows how so called athletes ran amuck cheating. FYI… Ironman events are supposed to be non-drafting. It didn’t end there; officials at the event stopped officiating using the excuse that it would pose harm? Say what? Officials are supposed to officiate in order to prevent harm… like disqualifying or at a minimum penalizing all the idiots in the gif weaving back and forth across the course median. This is sport? This is not sport, its a joke! Ironman Texas was a fiasco, not a sporting event.
If cheating wasn’t enough, these Ironman event participants prove just how unskilled, how untrained they are in that they can’t even cheat right! They can’t even ride their bikes in a straight line so they end up colliding, taking each other out like an house of cards folding upon itself. These aren’t competitors worthy of the title athlete, they are a bunch of cheaters… out to steal positions, a qualification spot for another event, perhaps even a podium from a real athletes… those who raced honestly start to finish.
These aren’t athletes, these are clowns.
If it only ended there…
Then news comes out that the actual bike course length wasn’t anywhere close to an Ironman distance triathlon: the bike course was short. But Ironman Corporation decided to count the finishing times as actual full distance race times! Ironman Texas went from being a joke, to Ironman Corporation and the brand Ironman now becoming jokes.
By eliminating the standard of what is an Ironman triathlon – to an arbitrary distance which seems to vary with each event – what once stood as a brand representing the standard of endurance triathlons… is now a standard of nothing. Ironman now means nothing.
If there is no specific distance that is an Ironman triathlon… because every race director can just cut the distance shorter in order to make finishing times record breaking… this is the beginning of the end of Ironman as a respectable standard in sport and in business. The precedent now is not only for athletes to course cut, but we have taken another step lower by the event management company itself ‘course cutting’.
Just imagine if we did that in any other sport…
Imagine at the Olympics, it isn’t the 100m event in track & field any longer… organizers cut the distance to 95m to ensure a new world record, to ensure spectators get to see a new WR.
Let’s not stop at the 100m event… the marathon seems a bit long, and what’s the point in a race having to be 26.2 miles… what’s with the 0.2miles? Let’s cut the marathon to an even 25miles… everyone will set personal bests, there will be new records, it will be wonderful. What crap!
Once we start to lower standards, there is no bottom… because there is no justification to put in a bottom at any point. The race is now to the bottom, and with that we devolve, we regress, we revert to animal instincts willing to lie, steal and cheat… grabbing at whatever you can get your hands on ahead of another.
Its one thing when society starts to cheat in order to try and make the standard, its an entirely new level of bottom seeking when society starts to drop standards in order to justify some short term/instant gratification end.
From here… the race now is only to see how far Ironman Corporation will sink, how low will standards fall, how far will it go to destroying everything that Ironman triathlons once were.
With the Ironman brand representing nothing,
the statement “you are an Ironman”… now means nothing.
Have an Ironman tattoo? Well you may want to consider laser removal before the Ironman brand becomes widely known as a symbol of failure, of dishonesty, of a lack of integrity, of a corporation which once had standards and then in pursuit of profits and popularity dropped the one thing it represented… its standard. Ironman is now a gutless, toothless, dying carcasse and its starting to smell like one too.
How did this happen? How did we end up here?
It always starts small…
It starts with… oh, what’s the big deal… you are making mountains out of molehills… let’s just cut this corner, let’s make it ‘easier’, let’s… drop our standard.
Then, one day, we lift our heads from the hole we have dug wondering how on earth did we ever stray so far from our values, our moral compass, from our standards.
Its not in one day that we fall… its a drip by drip, teeny step by itsy bitsy step that we end up hoping that all the little decisions we made were insignificant that our failure to hold a standard won’t matter, doesn’t matter, hoping that no one was looking, no one will know. We get away with it for a while thinking our master plan is working… we can cheat and get away with it, and then it catches up to us and we are blindsided with the consequences that are snowballing into an avalanche.
It starts small, but it never ends small.
Dishonesty, turns into denial, which becomes delusion, then demise, leading only to death.
What we have done to the sport of triathlon would have been unimagineable to those who stood back in 1978 at the start of what would become the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii. Ironman gained its reputation from the fact that it raised the standard of what it meant to be an endurance athlete; now Ironman, the race, the brand, the corporation is in the process of self destruction… its disease is terminal because standards were lowered, because lowering the standards was allowed to become an option, it happened because standards became negotiable, even in the slightest amount.
RIP Ironman 1978 – 2018
In the stock market… its called “calling the top” and turning bearish. Not sure if there is an equivalent in sport, but I believe calling the top in Ironman, the race, the brand, the corporation at this point is appropriate. Ironman had its run… and had its opportunity to be the flagbearer, but by eliminating standards, its now time for sport to return to what it is truly about… standards. Its time we return sport to individuals who we can truly call athletes because they decide to devote themselves to raising the standard in sport. Its time for cheaters to be escorted out of competition, and for athletes to retake the field.
In contrast to the disrespect in sport today, here is an article revealing the original intent behind competition, in sport…
Saturday May 12th opened up my Youtube channel homepage and on it was this video…
So lets get this straight… in one Ironman Corporation event, officials refuse to officiate because they claim it would risk posing harm to participants so the outcome is blatant drafting and crashes as per the highway cam gif above, but in another Ironman Corporation event an athlete who qualifies as a result of placing 2nd in his age group for Ironman World Championships in Hawaii is disqualified by an official for indirectly accepting chapstick from his wife (i.e. he pick it up from the ground so as avoid direct outside help). No standards…