The 100-meter race heard around the world had many across the globe in utter amazement. It seemed magical as soon as Usain bolted out of the blocks that something special was in the works.
But a recentNew York Times piece discusses the nagging doubts still present about track and field from the past doping days and doubts about Usain Bolt’s performance. I understand why fans are skeptical to believe that the performance was clean.
How does the sport mend the fences with fans? For starters the country’s sports federation is currently without a commander-in-chief, which always makes the scenario difficult. But, if a crisis consultant hasn’t been put on speed dial by the sports federation then there is quite a bit of work to be done.
A representative of the sports federation needs to do what every fallen figure or organization has done - go on Larry King, Oprah, Ellen, and a few other known television shows to cry their eyes out, apologize to fan, and ask for fans to return to the sport. They should lay out the steps the federation is doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
The federation can say “we too were duped and here is how we are moving on.” But to do nothing to actively address the public image problem is not an option. This sports status is far from business as usual—something must be done to court the dubious fan back to track and field.
Just so we are all clear here, it was individuals that engaged in sports doping, cheating, and lying for personal gain—not the sports federations.
By Jay Hicks.