a sports-journalist’s biased commentary
Last night 100-metres-men Olympic champion Merton Fuller was belatedly disqualified because of the results of a “doping test” done within the hour after his triumph. Inside one of the joints of his prosthetic augmentation a silicon-based “banned lubricant” was discovered. The tragedy of the case lies in the fact that none of the lubricant’s ingredients is to be found on the list of banned substances. Neither is the composition of the lubricant illegal. This is little wonder as there is no list of banned substances since 01 January 2020. So, what happened yesterday evening?
Whenever an athlete is nominated for the Olympics, a complete documentation of the organic and anorganic parts, of the software used, and of its workings has to be filed with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Because all of this quite naturally is intellectual property of the sponsoring company, strict confidentiality has to be maintained. A bone of contention for discussion since this rule has been introduced—countless suspicions have been voiced that crucial information has been leaked to rival companies. This already should be reason enough to suspend the rule.
After every event the system at once gets disassembled in full by IAAF-technicians. Every piece is scrutinized and the whole lot is compared to the list of parts filed beforehand. No representative of the athlete’s owner is allowed to be present during that process, which is completely non-public. Exactly that happened to Fuller yesterday. Every part of him perfectly matched his file, the official report states. To accomplish this task of comparison the IAAF goes for lengths, heaven knows why, and does a chemical analysis of every substance used. So it was done with the lubricant in question as well. Once the molecular watermark had been decoded it was discovered that it was manufactured by a Californian company. And against California trade sanctions are applied, therefore it is illegal to use artefacts produced there. To make the absurdness complete, the company is only legally based in California, its production facilities are located in Qinghai. Since several months already an application to relocate the company’s legal base from San Diego to Xining is pending with the courts. But all those facts did not help, Fuller was disqualified, because somewhere inside him a submicroscopical imprint said “San Diego”.
Immediately after Fuller’s disqualification was made known, a public upcry arose and within minutes Ben Johnson, commentator-in-chief at CyberSportsNetwork (CSN), appeared live on air and delivered an impressive speech, which sports officials should learn by heart: “Sports have to be free from restrictions, be them of the political or economical kind. Sports have to be free from ideas long overcome, because this ideas only serve the interests of lobbyists trying to instrumentalize athletics for their ends. Stop the nonsensical practice of documentation, and delete the concept of ‘human athletes’ from the rulebooks. Since 1896,” Johnson continued, “when Tom Burke ran the hundred in 12.0 seconds in Athens, all we want to see at the Olympics is world’s fastest creature on two legs.” Every upright athletics devotee will agree that last night, when Fuller ran the soul out of his body and finished the hundred in 5.27 seconds, we definitely saw world’s fastest creature on two legs.
Johnson indeed knows what he is talking about. You might know him as world’s most sought-after track-and-field commentator, but he himself wrote history and was a cornerstone in the ending of the madness in respect to official sports-rules. Until today a partial ending only, as yesterday’s events have shown. At the Seoul Olympics in 1988 Ben Johnson ran the 100 metres in 9.79 seconds making him the fastest human ever. But he was deprived of his gold medal three days later because Stanozolol, a so-called “banned substance” back then, was found in his urine sample. In fact he was not treated fairly by the authorities. They cast him out and they were jealous because he turned in the fastest time ever run by a human and it was impossible at the time. Not before 1999 another man was able to cover the hundred in 9.79: Maurice Greene. In 2002 Tim Montgomery beat the time by 0.01 … and has been “found guilty” of using “performance enhancing drugs”, and his record, just as Johnson’s, has been retroactively deleted. The disqualification madness went on for another eight years. Then Ben Johnson finally was rehabilitated and declared to have been the world-record-holder for 100m-dash with pharmaceutical augmentation only for an amazing eleven years.
Astoundingly enough, after the dated banning of drugs fell in 2010, the world-record on the 100 metres couldn’t be improved further, which gave high rise to speculations on undetected use of drugs during the decades before. By then technology already had evolved enough to allow prosthetic-enhanced human athletes to par with the pharmaceutical-only augmented ones. But again short-sightedness and conservativism did not allow to open the competitions for prosthetics. We had to wait another eleven years until rationality was able to win. In 2020 the first open—and truly fair—competitions were held, known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. Carl Lewis VI., heavily enhanced by CyberBolic prosthetics, ran the 100 in phenomenal 8.47 seconds. It would have been a perfect triumph, if the heat wouldn’t have been overshadowed by a tragic accident. At 79.80 meters the right upper limb of Merton Fuller, the till then leading man, exploded in a blood-red cloud due to malfunction of his Miyamoto-Soho prosthetics. Later it was found that the malfunction was provoked by faulty over-calibration of the system by Miyamoto-Soho’s technicians. Immediately after the accident Fuller was brought into the company’s nearby laboratory-complex by helicopter. His life could be saved, but he had lost faith in Miyamoto-Soho. Half a year later he switched to CyberBolic as well. Ironically in the same week CyberBolic was bought by Miyamoto-Soho, but Fuller stayed with the company. He came back in 2024 and won the Olympic 100 in 7.89 seconds. The slowest in the field of the eight finalists finished in 8.32 seconds.
Fuller, being legal property of Miyamoto-Soho Inc., retreated, or was retreated, to Miyamoto-Soho premises. The next decades he mainly spent at the company’s facilities in Edo, it is said. It went quiet around Fuller, only the occassional unfounded rumours of Fuller having died and resurrected again several times popped up. But this babble abated. Only ten years back from now Carl Lewis VI. was turned in by Miyamoto-Soho, too. When early in January this year Merton Fuller again was nominated for the Olympics and presented to the public, rumours started again. It was said that it was no more Fuller, but a hybrid constructed out of Fuller and Lewis—just as if that would matter at all in the limelight of the fulminant performance he presented to all of us.
Last night, almost exactly 36 years after his last hooray, it would have been Fuller’s perfect comeback. But still irrationality seems to know no boundaries and it was taken away from him—due to “short-sighted economo-political correctness,” as the meanwhile immortal Ben Johnson so rightly commented