AUGUST 14 - SEBASTIAN COE (pictured), the chairman of London 2012, has warned that athletics could end up with a reputation for drugs as bad as American football unless it starts to clean up its act.
The two-time Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist, who is also the vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), admitted on the eve of the track and field events starting in Beijing that a series of dope busts involving a number of high-profile athletes had harmed the sport.
He said: "I don't kid myself that it will always be thus, but most people recognise that what they are watching is being done by athletes who may have from time to time have entered the moral maze but have come out the right side.
"But we have to be mindful that that is not sustainable forever.
"You'll end up with what's happened in the States where most parents don't want their kids to play American Football.
"Parents want to know that their children are not in a predatory environment, that there is a moral framework that provides a firewall between the sleazy chemist in a Californian, British or Russian laboratory."
The Games have already been overshadowed by a number of top Russian athletes being suspended and ruled ineligible to take part in the Olympics.
Coe said: "The IAAF tests more than any other sport, we don't brush our positive tests under the carpet.
"Sometimes that is bloody uncomfortable."
Coe also said track and field needed to broaden its appeal to young people.
He said: "We have some really big challengers.
"The average age of people watching track and field in my own country is late 50s.
"We have had difficulty engaging a new generation."