Rashid Ramzi and the Price of Cheating

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of elite running is when drug cheaters steal medals and prize money from runners who play by the rules. Fortunately, track and field governing bodies have began cracking down on athletes who use performance enhancing drugs. The foundation of this effort is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which has drafted strict rules on procedures and punishments for athletes who fail drug tests. WADA is funded jointly by the International Olympic Committee and national governments.

Thanks to more aggressive testing, athletes like Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, and Regina Jacobs have all been suspended for failed drug tests. Now, a new name can be added to the list: Rashid Ramzi.

Ramzi was the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1500m. With amazing turnover and seemingly limitless energy, Ramzi was unstoppable in Beijing…now we know why. Ramzi tested positive for CERA, an advanced version of the endurance-boosting hormone, EPO. Due to this failed test, Ramzi’s gold medal will be stripped, and he will not be able to run in the 2012 Olympics. It is so good to know that WADA appears to be keeping up with new substances used by drug cheaters. We can only hope that Ramzi’s punishment serves as a powerful warning to other runners who would think about using performance enhancing drugs.

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