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Should sports records be wiped because of doping scandals?




In this April 16, 2015, file photo, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games medals are unveiled for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles.
In this April 16, 2015, file photo, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games medals are unveiled for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

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After a long history of doping scandals, the governing body of track and field is considering wiping records set before 2005, which is when more stringent anti-doping rules were put into effect.

Developed by European Athletics, this “Record Revolution Plan” put those pre-2005 records in danger, unless they meet certain criteria.

Proponents say this wouldn’t erase records, it would just create a new, clean slate for track and field, in a landscape where, currently, athletes might be competing against ludicrous, doping-induced standards.

But critics of the proposal (among which are many former track athletes) say this would wipe legitimate records in a superficial attempt to deal with doping in the sport.

For both track and field, as well as other sports, how do doping scandals affect your perception of world records? Should there be a “reset” of records once more stringent standards are put in place? Or is there too great a risk of scrubbing legitimate feats of human athleticism from the books?

Guests:

Alex Hutchinson, columnist with Runner’s World magazine; he competed internationally for Canada as a long distance runner; he tweets @sweatscience

John Gleaves, assistant professor in Kinesiology  at California State University, Fullerton; he specializes in the history and sociology of  performance enhancing drugs in sports; he tweets @ProfJohnGleaves