19 February 2013: State of play

It seems as though very time you open a newspaper, watch the news or follow the instant unfolding of news on social media sites , that sports people around the world are making headlines for all the wrong reasons. I can imagine as a member of the general public it must be very easy to have the impression that all elite and professional sports men and women are guilty or cheating, doping, lying or just behaving disgracefully. Perhaps more disappointing are allegations of team based cultures encouraging even pressuring athletes, corrupt organisations and people in positions of power that really should know better. I can also admit that reading some of the reports and investigations that I have been naiive in terms of the ease in which substances have been procured and the use of which have gone undetected for so long. It is very sad as an athlete to read. But I would also like to think that triathlon as a whole is a clean sport with hard working, honest athletes too proud to be tempted by other means. Yes I could be wrong but on the whole I think this is right. Perhaps we do not have the same money incentives as other sports, the culture of gambling, the sense of entitlement of being a 'sports star'? It just seems a shame that the tag of professional athlete - a title once held proud by athletes and the general public alike, has become one of suspicion as in the eyes of many all athletes are now tarnished and open to question.