Turkey’s track and field federation announced two-year drug bans for 31 of its athletes Monday, a news story that bordered an Istanbul 2020 Olympic candidate city panel on its website with the slogan, “Bridge Together.”
The timing for terrible news is certainly not ideal. The nation has been flooded with negative press for months leading into the Sept. 7 vote in Buenos Aires, where the International Olympic Committee will choose from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo for the host of the 2020 Olympics.
The latest setback for Turkey was not surprising. The 31 bans came after reports of massive positive tests from Turkish athletes leading into the Mediterranean Games in June. Five days ago, nine other Turkish track and field athletes received two-year bans.
The list of athletes, which includes the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the men’s hammer throw, can be found on the Turkish track and field website here.
More suspensions could be on the way, including one for the 2012 Olympic champion in the women’s 1,500 meters, Asli Cakir Alptekin. She was provisionally suspended in May through the biological passport program as irregularities were found in her blood levels. She could face a lifetime ban because she’s already served a two-year ban for previous doping.
“The files of Asli Cakir Alptekin, Nevin Yanit and Pinar Saka were not assessed because the process of investigation following their defense statements is continuing,” the federation in the statement on its website.
Turkey’s track and field chairman resigned amid the scandal last week.
Long list of star track and field athletes who won’t compete at world championships
Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.
Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.
Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.
Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.
He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.
“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.
Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.
Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.
Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.
“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”
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