It’s been over two days since I first heard the news and I still cannot believe it.
I have to write this post in the first person because this is personal. I have admired VCB for so long – have sung her praises right here on Islandista so many times.
So words are inadequate to describe how gutted, shocked and confused I am at the news that Jamaican sprint queen Veronica Campbell-Brown has tested positive for furosemide, a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.
And I am not alone in my confusion. Jamaican-American sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross tweeted in support of VCB, saying:
— Sanya Richards-Ross (@SanyaRichiRoss) June 15, 2013
And even when a Twitter follower tried to draw her out against VCB, tweeting snidely “but you’re not really shocked are you”, Sanya stayed in VCB’s corner, saying “Shocked is an understatement.”
Other athletes have expressed their disbelief and support too, with American sprinter Wallace Spearmon tweeting:
“I wake up to this … I know for a fact she wouldn’t do anything like that….I’m sticking with her until the end … VCB I got your back.”
The critics are of course already sharpening their knives – we know how Jamaica and by extension the Caribbean’s sprint success in recent years bu’n dem!
In a BBC Sports report, BBC 5 Live’s track correspondent Mike Costello was already writing the epitaph to VCB’s career, saying:
“But now her reputation has been shredded and the damage done to the credibility of Jamaican athletics in general is extensive. She has complained in the past that modern-day female athletes have been denied commercial opportunities because many women’s world records have been set by drug-tainted Eastern Europeans, and therefore beyond reach. Now she belongs in the same hall of shame.”
Oh. Really? We don’t wait to hear what the athlete’s explanation is before we declare she belongs in the same hall of shame as those Eastern European sprint frauds? After well over a decade of sprinting and winning without even the slightest hint of impropriety?
No. Maybe I will be proven a fool later but like Sanya and Wallace and Kim Collins and millions of other Jamaican and Caribbean people, I am waiting to hear from VCB and until then, I stand behind her.