So we’re still a year away from the Olympics in Brazil and already the doping allegations are starting to swirl.
First, Turkish runner Asli Cakir Alptekin, who got a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, agreed to chuck her title, after admitting to doping from July 2010 until October 2012. She’s now banned from competing for eight years.
And in Oregon, where the Olympic trials are held, noted track and field coach Alberto Salazar and his top runner Galen Rupp are under scrutiny for doping.
According to the BBC, former athletes and a coach say that Salazar approved usage of banned drugs, including testosterone and prescription medications, to increase performance. Rupp, a reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000-meter, is accused of using testosterone and testosterone medication in the report.
Currently there are 50 athletes and coaches serving doping suspensions, with seven handed a lifetime ban, according to the USATF website.
Obviously it’s a problem. I don’t know a lot about running, and maybe even less about winning. But It seems to me that to consider myself a winner, I’d want to play by the rules.
It’s hard to get into the mindset of elite athletes who think differently. As a writer, I find them flat as characters. To me, the more intriguing character is the one who sticks to winning by adhering to the rules, even if he or she knows it’s a losing proposition. That’s the head I want to climb into.
British cyclist Chris Froome made an impressive showing last week in the 14th stage of the Tour de France, leading to accusations of doping.
So sure are some fans, that at least one of them threw urine in his face during Saturday’s leg.
“Times have changed, everyone knows that, ” Froome said when questioned. “This isn’t the Wild West that it was 10 to 15 years ago. Of course there are always going to be riders who take risks in this day and age but they are the minority. It was all the other way around 10 to 15 years ago. There is no reason for that suspicion to continue.”
Funny, wasn’t that sort of what Lance Armstrong said a few years ago? Armstrong won seven Tour titles between 1999-2005 but was stripped of them after proof of his doping became irrefutable. He finally admitted it, following years of denials.
What’s worse, doping was so pervasive in the sport, that the Tour de France refused to name a winner for any of those races.
That got me to wondering. What if you were the person who did play be all the rules, who truly did win the race on merit and never saw that day of glory? What would that do to your life and how would it develop your character?
That’s the premise of my novel Win By Defeat, which follows Magna Laud, a runner who is an Olympic hopeful favored to win a Gold, but robbed of the chance when a dark horse beats her. It later comes to light that the dark horse is guilty of doping and Magna, who has chosen another field to make her Blue Ribbon mark, must decide what lengths she’ll go to win.
A post from Matt’s Must Be This Tall To Ride blog and an article I read about writing flash fiction led to my first attempt at flash fiction. And Matt, if you’re reading this, in time I hope this blog finds the mojo yours has, which I’ll gladly send your way. Thanks for being such a great inspiration! OK here goes:
Feelings Are Bullshit
The envelop on his desk was unexpected. Absent-mindedly he opened it, sending a chill down his spine.
A month since they argued. What was it about? He couldn’t recall. She said something in that tone. He slammed. She threw. He yelled. Threw something else.
“Bullshit,” he stammered. She stormed out. Where? He didn’t ask.
A few days passed. They made up. She decked out in a killer pair of heels and form-fitting dress. There was a dinner out, then make up sex. All was healed.
And now, this bill. His face flushed. He knew how she’d felt.
Don’t be taken aback by what you see here. This is just me in the beginning, before you’ve discovered me. Back when I was a bit unsure of myself. Back when my novel was a dream idea I had, a life-long goal I decided to act on. Back when my chapters were scattered among a group of friends whom I knew I could count on for honest feedback to get it going, to keep me going. Back when I didn’t have a platform, or an audience, or even a Facebook page, let alone Twitter. Back when the most visual thing I had was a book cover concept. Well actually two. One I did, that I made the horrific mistake of falling in love with. And the other done by a professional graphic artist whom I bartered with for editing a novel he’d written. By now, though, we both know that I’ve forgone favors from friends and moved into the realm of “whatever a publisher wants in return for a big fat advance.” Still, there was a certain homespun appeal to the old days and just starting out on a dream project.
Good question. Because, a seven-year-old kid who was sick and bored decided after reading her Richard Scary dictionary that becoming a writer was a good idea. She took out a pencil and a yellow-lined notepad and wrote about rabbits. Her mother “oohed” and “aahed” over it and the girl was sure that becoming an author was a destiny written in the stars. So, fast forward a few decades, she gets sick again. One of those life-threatening illnesses that makes one question whether there’s any one thing in life left to accomplish and ponder the age-old theme “Why am I here?” And so a writer is reborn and a novel springs forth. It’s called Win By Defeat, at least at the moment. And this is the story of how it began.