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Sport

The reward for clean living

KEN MACQUEEN November 3 2003
UP FRONT

Sport

The reward for clean living

KEN MACQUEEN November 3 2003

Sport

The reward for clean living

KEN MACQUEEN

For 19 months, the bronze medal Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott won at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City travelled with her to schools and speaking engagements across the country. Countless children have put it on and imagined great things. “It was a little worn,” says Scott, 29, who recently mailed it back, a bit sadly, to Olympic officials. No matter. Last Tuesday, she got a new one at a gala presentation in Calgary. This one is silver.

“We’re almost there,” Scott told a cheering crowd of 350. She and the Canadian Olympic Committee are still chasing one final upgrade—to gold—for her photo-finish performance in the five-km free pursuit on Feb. 15, 2002. The Russians who finished ahead of her, Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina, were subsequently suspended for blood doping. An arbitration panel later this year will determine if Danilova is to lose her gold to Scott.

Gold will be nice, but Scott’s old bronze was already a potent symbol that cheaters never prosper, an old saw underscored last week when a U.S. grand jury pried open perhaps the dirtiest secret in American sport— the widespread use by both Olympic and professional athletes of THG, a designer steroid that previously escaped detection. Revelations about the new drug—and a promised crackdown—has rocked the mighty U.S. Olympic system. For the Beckie Scotts of the world, though, they were but a starting gun for what might be the first truly fair race to the podium.