Chasing Records

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Are we painting ourselves into a corner with this incessant chasing of records in swimming and track and field? Am I missing something? Is not the essence of sport competition? I maintain that that much of the current situation we have with performance enhancing drugs comes from this stress on records. I have been closely following the buildup into the Prefontaine Meet this weekend and all the hype has been about so and so chasing a record. So what? Isn’t the essence of it competition? Does the average fan know or care about times or distances? I would love to see a 1600 meter relay meet that started with eight teams at four minutes and worked progressively down in five second increments until there were eight teams at three minutes. It would be much like the old West Coast Relays, where the highlight was on the racing. Turn off the timers and focus on the competition. Let’s be realistic it is not humanly possible to keep pushing the records higher, longer and faster, by doing that we are encouraging people to cheat. Does John Q. Public really care about the records? I don’t think so. You have all these wise people trying to figure out how to have track regain the popularity it once had, it is simple, get the stars to race each other.
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