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.

The WADA-appointed three-member Independent Commission upon the release of the report Monday in Geneva: Canadian lawyer and professor Richard McLaren, former WADA  president Richard Pound and German law enforcement official Guenter Younger // photo Getty Images

The WADA-appointed three-member Independent Commission upon the release of the report Monday in Geneva: Canadian lawyer and professor Richard McLaren, former WADA president Richard Pound and German law enforcement official Guenter Younger // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Who knew what, when? And what is to be done?

The World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report that shines a long-overdue spotlight on Russian doping in track and field begs a question in Russian history. As Lenin himself wrote in the famous pamphlet published in 1902: what is to be done?

At the same time, and though the report, released Monday, has little to nothing to do with the United States, a bit of political history from the American archives is worth noting, too. From the Watergate years: who knew what, and when?

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Why Stephanie Hightower is up for IAAF council

Political and organizational culture can be a famously difficult thing to articulate. But as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said in a very different context, you know it when you see it.

What’s coming this summer at the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, is a “climate of monumental political change,” according to a memo sent out Saturday from the USA Track & Field board of directors. And that, it says, is why Stephanie Hightower, not Robert Hersh, is unequivocally “the best candidate for 2015 and beyond” to be nominated for the U.S. seat on the ruling IAAF council.