Christopher's win sparks hope

JODY VANCE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

Looking lean, like a runner should, Edmonton's Tyler Christopher put himself on the world track and field map Sunday in Valencia, Spain.

If you didn't see it with your own eyes, you wouldn't believe how effortlessly he won one of his sport's toughest challenges, the 400-metre sprint.

In taking gold in this event Sunday, Christopher not only earned Canada's first medal at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships, but he ran to a personal best and a new Canadian record to boot.

Post-race, Christopher said all that is nice, but the best part was that he beat his archrival Chris Brown of the Bahamas, who came third.

Track and field is fun again. Track and field might just be en route to respectability again.

A fair race just might have been run for a change.

Unlike days gone by in track and field, today is a new day for the sport, a day that had to come, as the World Anti-Doping Agency is getting very serious about catching cheaters.

Most notably, at this year's Olympic Summer Games, there will be blood testing for human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs.

It is for this fact alone that I will be glued to the tube when the games begin. Track had become more than a bit of a joke in this time of HGH.

It is exciting to think that the best athlete might actually win in Beijing. With the likes of Christopher and Perdita Felicien (just to name two), our athletes can look forward to fair competition and, when the playing field is leveled by blood testing, anything is possible.

So as the runners take the blocks in Beijing, we can look forward to them actually looking like runners rather than athletes who could freelance in the clean and jerk.

-- Jody Vance is a sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her columns appear Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.


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