Athletics: 'Radical' proposal recommends rewriting world records

Story highlights

  • Athletics world records set before 2005 could be rewritten
  • European Athletics will make proposals to governing body IAAF
  • Seb Coe says it is "step in right direction"

(CNN)It is a proposal which has been described as "cowardly" by one former athlete, but as a "step in a right direction" by the most powerful man in athletics.

In a "revolutionary" new proposal, European Athletics has recommended that all track and field world and European records set before 2005 should be removed from the record books.
It would mean Mike Powell's long jump world record, Florence Griffith-Joyner's 100-meter and 200 -meter world records and Britain's Paula Radcliffe's marathon world record would be scrapped.
Usain Bolt's world records, set after 2005, would still stand.
Radcliffe, who set her world record of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds in 2003, described the proposal in a statement as cowardly and said that it would damage her "reputation and dignity."
But Seb Coe, president of the sport's governing body -- the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) -- told reporters the report was a "step in the right direction."
He added: "If organized and structured properly we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area."
Mike Powell broke Bob Beamon's 23-year-old long jump world record by 5cm, leaping 8.95 m (29 ft 4 in) at the World Championships in Tokyo in 1991.

'Cloud of doubt hung over records for too long'

European Athletics' Council accepted the proposals of the taskforce set up in January to look at the credibility of world records. It is a response to the McLaren report which uncovered widespread doping in sport, with track and field particularly affected.
Svein Arne Hansen, European Athletics president, told reporters that records were "meaningless if people don't really believe in them."
Under the proposals, world and European records would only be recognized if certain criteria were met:
  1. Records would have to have been achieved at international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment could be guaranteed.
  2. The athlete must be subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the record.
  3. Doping control samples taken after world-record performances would need to be stored and available for retesting for 10 years.
The IAAF has stored blood and urine samples only since 2005. Current records which do not meet the above criteria would remain on the "all-time list" but would not be officially recognized as records.
"It's a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long," said Hansen. "We need decisive action to restore credibility and trust.
"This will now go to the IAAF Council Meeting in August and on behalf of European Athletics I will be encouraging them to adopt this proposal."