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.

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. No. 1 overall — in fast-changing world

BEIJING — With images of Jesse Owens and Luz Long on the big screens, Owens’ grand-daughter kicked off the final night of the 2015 track and field championships by presenting Usain Bolt his gold medal from the men’s 4×100 relay the night before.

This was, in a nutshell, the past and present of the sport. The future?

Justin Gatlin in June at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, after running 19.57 to win the 200 at the U.S. nationals // Getty Images

Justin Gatlin in June at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, after running 19.57 to win the 200 at the U.S. nationals // Getty Images

Track and field

Justin Gatlin, and a run for redemption

When Justin Gatlin first got the news — this was nine years ago — that he had tested positive for the banned substance testosterone, he literally fell out of the truck he was driving.

“While we were on the phone,” his mother, Jeanette, would later testify, “all I could hear was him screaming and screaming on the other end, and how, no, no, no, no, I’m dead, I’m dead. And we were afraid that he was going to do something to himself. He was in North Carolina, and we were in Florida. You know, to — you can’t get there. You can’t keep him safe from doing whatever. He was just — he was — he was — he was screaming. He was screaming and yelling, and he was driving, and he was in his truck, and he fell out. He stopped, and he fell out, and he fell apart. He just kept on saying, ‘I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead. It’s over, it’s over, it’s — I’m dead, Mommy, I’m dead.’ ”

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Track and field

USATF and the notion of homework

For years, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field were the two reliable punching bags in the American Olympic scene. The problem at both was much the same: constant management turnover and an unwieldy governance structure, each encumbered by a board of directors numbering in the triple digits that created an environment rife with petty politics.

Over the past several years, both have turned it around. But with USATF in particular, there remains a dissident cohort for whom seemingly nothing seems to be good enough. Case in point: there’s a new, professionally produced commercial featuring several track-and-field stars, and it’s even airing on network television. This has to be a huge win, right? Exposure for a sport that needs it? For some, apparently not.