Contributor Perspectives

Buying Gold: The Practice of Purchasing Athletic Allegiances

Austin Duckworth
Board of Contributors
Jan 22, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Before he became a Qatari citizen to compete in international track and field competitions for the country, Saif Saaeed Shaheen was a Kenyan named Stephen Cherono.

Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar competes during the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 10th IAAF World Athletics Championships on Aug. 7, 2005, in Helsinki, Finland.

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Turkey, a nation not historically known for its distance-running prowess, made a remarkable showing at December's European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia. The Turkish men's team took home the gold, while its women's team placed third. Turkish athletes Kaan Kigen Ozbilen and Yasemin Can won their races to take home individual gold medals. How does one explain this sudden explosion of distance-running ability from a nation better known for producing world-class soccer players? Simply put, Turkey purchased the talents of the athletes, who were born in Kenya....

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