Jenn Suhr, the 2012 Olympic champion, winning 2016 world indoor gold // Getty Images for IAAF

Jenn Suhr, the 2012 Olympic champion, winning 2016 world indoor gold // Getty Images for IAAF

Track and field

Coe in charge, track at an inflection point

PORTLAND, Ore. — Let’s get the joke out of the way early. For a sport savaged by months of doping stories, it turns out there’s a legal marijuana store literally across the street from the Oregon Convention Center, site of the 2016 track and field world indoor championship, which features a groovy, granola-crunchy green track. Can’t make this stuff up.

Seriously, now: track and field arrives for the 2016 world indoors, a four-day run that got underway Thursday night, at an inflection point.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun addresses the media at the USOC Olympic media summit at The Beverly Hilton hotel. To his right: USOC board chair Larry Probst // Getty Images

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun addresses the media at the USOC Olympic media summit at The Beverly Hilton hotel. To his right: USOC board chair Larry Probst // Getty Images

Rio 2016

Like a plague of locusts, so predictable

Like one of those locust cycles that erupt with scientific predictability, here we are five months before an Olympic Games and, just on schedule, there’s an outbreak among the ladies and gentlemen of the press of OMG the-sky-is-falling. What, you say? These Rio Games are on track to be a disaster! Zika! Water pollution! Slow ticket sales! Ack! Danger, Will Robinson!

Or maybe, you know, not.

MONACO - NOVEMBER 26:  Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF answers questions from the media during a press conference following the IAAF Council Meeting at the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel on November 26, 2015 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

MONACO - NOVEMBER 26: Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF answers questions from the media during a press conference following the IAAF Council Meeting at the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel on November 26, 2015 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Track and field

Sebastian Coe is the answer, not the problem

If you have seen Fight Club, the 1999 movie with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton (New York Times: “surely the defining cult movie of our time”), or, better yet, read the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel that inspired it, you know the elemental first rule of Fight Club: you do not talk about Fight Club.

This is the key to understanding what happened at track and field’s international governing body, the IAAF, in regards to doping in Russia (mostly) and cover-ups, and as a spur going forward, because institutional, governance and cultural changes must be enacted to ensure that what happened under the watch of the former IAAF president, Lamine Diack, can never happen again.

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this week in Sochi with sports minister  Vitaly Mutko // Getty Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this week in Sochi with sports minister Vitaly Mutko // Getty Images

Track and field

A historic “road map” for Russia?

Track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, did what it had to do Friday in provisionally suspending Russia after shocking revelations of systemic, perhaps state-sponsored, doping.

The IAAF action followed by a few hours a step taken by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel. It, too, did what it had to do. Among other things, it found Russia non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.