A rambling discourse in the Times Online discusses women sprinters. The article delves into Dwain Chambers, Flo-Jo and Flo-Jo's daughter, Christine Arron, and Marion Jones. We will try to look at the Flo-Jo Christine Aron connection.
About 10 years ago Flo-Jo (Florence Griffith-Joyner) died secondary to a brain anomaly leading to a seizure, leading to aspiration. Writers try to make a case for the deleterious effects of steroids or HGH, however that is likely to be an un-winnable argument.
Flo-Jo holds the world womens 100M record with an incredible 10.49. That 10.49 stands well above any other effort on the track, thus leading to the PEDs speculation; a wind-aid may be more important than steroids with that particular time.
In fact, the most illegal aspect of Griffith-Joyner's 100 metres that record-breaking day in the 1988 United States Olympic trials in Indianapolis was probably the wind. Or the faulty wind gauge. But even if we eradicate her work on that windy day in the quarter-finals on the Saturday, she would still have smashed the record in the semi-finals on the Sunday. And then done it again in the final. It was a handy weekend's work. They say that records are there to be broken, but that 10.49sec in the 100 metres is a stand-out exception. No one has come close. If you could line up the fastest women of all time in their fastest performances, “Flo-Jo” and her signature painted fingernails would be through the finish line more than a metre ahead of the rest. Next in line would be Marion Jones (10.65).
Marin Jones's career is clearly tainted. Eliminate that 10.65. Who is next in line with a low 100M time? Christine Arron. Might Arron be the world's fastest human female?
For it is exceedingly likely that Christine Arron, a French sprinter of particular elegance, is the fastest woman of all time. Arron will never be fêted for it, she will never earn the kickbacks from it and she will never be able to rewind to her European Championships triumph in Budapest in 1998 and go through the line to see with astonishment that her time, 10.73.
Might a 10.73 be the world's clean record? Is Flo-Jo's 10.49 tainted?
We could start with the allegation in Stern, the German magazine, from another American sprinter, Darrell Robinson, that she (Flo-Jo) had once asked him to get her some human growth hormone. And that would just be the prologue. So it is a pretty good punt that Arron is the fastest clean woman ever. The flaw here, of course, is that we cannot know for sure that Arron is clean, but she has a physique that suggests that she is natural and, for a decade, she has run times that consistently leave her on the edge of the big-money pool. The dopers tend to dive right in.
Does Arron believe she is the Queen of the 100m? Yes. Arron takes on the 2nd place women, Jones:
The strongest evidence in her favour, though, may be that she (Arron) is bitter as hell, as an interview in L'Equipe, the French magazine, at the start of the year made clear. On the realisation that Jones was going to serve a prison sentence, Arron said that the American deserved her fate. “She has lied for years,” Arron said. “She treated everyone as idiots. I'm not choked she is going to jail. Many people criticised me because I was always the one who lost in the Jones-Arron battle, even if I had very good results. We started running together in 1997. She has stolen my best years. Everything could have been different for me.”
Arron's "done with that guy". And now Flo-Jo:
On Griffith-Joyner, Arron long ago questioned her world record. The L'Equipe interviewer asked her if it was “malicious gossip” to suggest that the 100 metres record is hers by right. “Malicious gossip, no. Why?” she replied. “It is a very strange feeling. Deep in my heart I think, ‘Yes, I am probably the girl who ran the fastest and cleanly.' But there are two other girls better than me and we can't delete their records. It is very hypocritical. Although I will never get recognition, that would have made a difference for me.
So Arron believe she set the world's fastest female 100M. As well she might -- clean.
(one more thought after the jump)
How about 'Zero-Year' records:
Unfortunately for some, the “Year Zero” debate stands no chance. It did in 1999, when the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics, discussed it seriously after the millennium's end presented a convenient and tidy dateline. Now, though, it has few supporters and, anyway, its flaws are obvious. If Year Zero had been introduced in 2000, the “new” world record would have been set in May of that year by Jones, it would have been broken in August by Jones and it would have been held for four years by Jones.
And Arron? Her 10.73 was run in 1998, so that would have been no good to her. She is 34 and not quite able to push her body to the speeds that it used to reach. Her best times this year would leave her about eight metres behind Griffith-Joyner. The Olympic Games? Selection would be an achievement. She will never know the fulfillment that, in a drug-free world, she might have done.