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The 2010s – the decade that shook sport – BBC News


The 2010s – the decade that shook sport – BBC News

Since joining the BBC in 2010, sports editor Dan Roan has covered many of the biggest sports news stories of the past decade.Here he revisits some of the off-field issues that have defined a remarkable era and shifted sport’s landscape in a way never seen before. Doping Such was his dominance on the bike, his…

Collage of Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius, Alberto Salazar, Sepp Blatter, Caster Semenya, Steve Smith

Given that signing up with the BBC in 2010, sports editor Dan Roan has actually covered numerous of the greatest sports newspaper article of the past decade.

Here he reviews some of the off-field problems that have specified an amazing period and moved sport’s landscape in a way never ever seen prior to.


Such was his dominance on the bike, his superstardom off it, and the elegance of the doping regime he led, Lance Armstrong stays one of sport’s most notorious drugs cheats.

On the one hand, the demise of the disgraced American cyclist and cancer survivor in late 2012 was indicative of a sport in the grip of a doping culture.

However the cutting-edge pursuit of Armstrong by the United States Anti-Doping Company (Usada) seemed to show that no-one was too big to bring down. His TV confession to cheating his way to all 7 of his Tour de France titles the list below year shattered sport’s biggest fairy tale, and provided among the sporting years’s most defining minutes.

From Tiger Woods’ televised apology for serial philandering in early 2010 to Oscar Pistorius’ murder conviction six years later, the 2010 s bore witness to some shocking falls from grace. However the sense was that Armstrong’s would move the landscape like no other because his offending straight affected his sport.

However any hope that the suspicion surrounding cycling would lift as a legacy of Armstrong’s failure soon faded.

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Armstrong on drugs, history and the future

Having actually contended for the very first time in 2010, Group Sky went on to control cycling in the years that followed. At the turn of the decade, no British rider had actually ever won the Tour de France. Given that then, three have done so, with Chris Froome managing the feat four times

For several years, ‘marginal gains’ was credited with transforming British cycling’s fortunes on both the road and the track, where it ended up being the driving-force behind succeeding Olympic accomplishments.

But during the second half of the years, Team Sky came under installing analysis over how they handled to win a lot amidst a series of debates.

By the time of the nadir when a parliamentary committee implicated the group of “crossing the ethical line” over Sir Bradley Wiggins’ usage of restorative use exemptions (TUEs) in a damning 2018 report, a few of the greatest names in British sport had been tainted, and its founding claim to be ‘whiter than white’ consigned to history. Sky withdrew its backing a few months later, the group only saved by the financial investment of Ineos, a major brand-new power in British sport.

Team Sky and their riders constantly rejected any wrongdoing and rejected allegations they had ever cheated their method to success. However a landmark medical tribunal to determine if former chief medic Dr Richard Freeman bought testosterone to assist an unnamed rider to cheat 9 years ago will resume in 2020

The fluctuate in track record of the nation’s most effective but questionable group has actually been one of the years’s most substantial sports stories. And definitive moments might still lie ahead.

Numerous other sports have actually suffered their own doping-related crises over the last 10 years naturally, particularly in sports, where its most powerful figure, Lamine Diack, was banned for life for extorting cash from cheats whose positive tests he helped to cover up.

The death of the disgraced former IAAF president caused his British successor Lord Coe battling to restore his own track record amidst concerns over both his judgement and association with Diack.

In spite of a bruising period of extreme analysis, the male credited with delivering London 2012 made it through and has actually always rejected any misdeed.

Another outcome of Diack’s failure has actually been continuous criminal examinations in France and Brazil into wider claims of bribery connected to the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bids.

Diack will stand trial in Paris in 2020 on charges of corruption and money laundering.

Alberto Salazar (centre) coached Great Britain’s Mo Farah (right) to Olympic gold at London 2012

Provided his long association with Britain’s most decorated track and field star Sir Mo Farah, and the hugely effective sportswear giant Nike, legendary American coach Alberto Salazar’s four-year restriction in the middle of the 2019 World Championships for numerous doping violations after a long Usada investigation was another extremely damaging episode for the sport as it struggled to fill deep space left by Usain Bolt’s retirement.

Amidst extreme scrutiny of its close relationship with the disgraced running expert, the scandal has plunged UK Athletics into the gravest crisis in its history, and amid fresh allegations and an appeal by Salazar, the story will rumble on well into 2020.

But when it comes to the sheer scale of cheating, the political power of the offender, and the ramifications of the fall-out, one scandal this years is in a category all of its own.

In 2015 a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report laid bare the information of a conspiracy like no other. Masterminded by the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory turned whistle-blower Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, Russia’s state-sponsored doping racket implicated 1,000 professional athletes across several sports and screwed up successive Olympic Games – consisting of London 2012 – now referred to as the dirtiest statistically in history – with more than 130 competitors considering that disqualified.

In the years that followed, more gory details have actually emerged, the scandal doing untold damage to the trustworthiness of significant institutions like the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Wada, weakening the anti-doping system, deteriorating public trust, and controling the build-up to both Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 – from which the Russian team were banned.

It now threatens to do the exact same to Tokyo 2020 with Russia just recently struck with an extraordinary (but qualified) four-year ban from significant global occasions after another audacious cover-up.

But with an appeal yet to be heard, and some professional athletes furious that a straight-out restriction was prevented, it is clear that this crisis will extend well into the 2020 s. The IOC also faces a major difficulty in encouraging Western cities to bid to host future Olympics, with London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 tainted by corruption and chaos.

Certainly the biggest scandal sport has ever known.

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Grigory Rodchenkov talks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan in February 2018


Another sporting mega-story the previous years will always be kept in mind for was Fifa’s corruption scandal.

Accusations of skulduggery had actually spent time world football’s governing body for many years. But it was just in the 2010 s that individuals at the heart of the organisation dealt with accusations amidst a crisis that shook Fifa to its core.

9 years after it stunned the world by awarding the right to host its flagship event to the small desert-state of Qatar, Fifa is still trying to recuperate from accusations surrounding how precisely the country won the vote, the human expense of developing the infrastructure for the occasion, and the disruption a first winter World Cup will trigger.

Five years after that vote came those significant dawn authorities raids with various Fifa officials arrested in Zurich on corruption charges in the middle of a vast FBI examination into tens of countless dollars’ worth of kickbacks linked to marketing and TELEVISION contracts in the Americas.

This – in addition to the subsequent downfalls of Fifa’s long-reigning president Sepp Blatter and one-time successor obvious Michel Platini shortly afterwards over a “disloyal payment” – brought the organisation to its knees. Both men, together with the Qatar bid, have actually constantly denied misbehavior.

But more than any other, the scandal concerned symbolise a variety of issues; sub-standard governance across sport, the greed and unchecked excess at the top of world football, and the large wealth produced by deals with sponsors and TV companies.

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‘ I’m a sincere guy’ – Blatter special

The exploitation of sport as a kind of ‘soft-power’ by nations like Qatar with questionable human-rights records to furnish their image was absolutely nothing brand-new. However the 2010 vote – which likewise consisted of handing the 2018 World Cup to President Vladimir Putin’s Russia naturally – pertained to symbolise sport’s increasing desire to do handle repressive programs. It is obvious that the term ‘sportswashing’ only entered the sporting lexicon in the last few years.

Fifa will argue that a tradition of its corruption scandal has been an overhaul of its management, and key governance reforms.

However with criminal investigations into the bidding procedures for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups continuing in Switzerland and France, fresh prison sentences and life bans handed to previous officials, and practically 3 years still until Qatar hosts what is set to be the most questionable sports occasion in history, it will be a long period of time – if ever – prior to Fifa’s credibility is really brought back.

Rule breaking

The 2010 s have offered lots of other sporting scandals involving claims of unfaithful, deceit or guideline breaking.

In 2011 three Pakistani cricketers were jailed for their roles in an impressive spot-fixing scandal, which had actually blown up the previous year, forcing the game to confront the threat of gambling-related corruption.

More recently, rugby union was shaken to its core by the 35- point reduction handed to Saracens – the English club game’s dominant force – for breaching wage cap regulations.

In Scottish football, Rangers’ monetary collapse – which saw a titan of the video game liquidated and after that demoted to the bottom tier of the league in 2012 over tax avoidance, sent shockwaves through the sport.

On The Other Hand, Manchester City – the Premier League’s dominant force in the 2010 s – are waiting to find if Uefa discovers them guilty of misleading European football’s governing body over financial reasonable play rules City deny misdeed however if they lose the case, a marvelous restriction from the competition they covet more than any – the Champions League – could be their penalty.

Bury were the first string to leave of the EFL considering that Maidstone’s liquidation in 1992

Bury became the very first club to be expelled from the Football League because 1992 when they failed to offer proof of funds, their demise a plain symbol of mounting issues over the sustainability of football finances.

But in regards to resonance, maybe one sports scandal this years sticks out.

Australian cricket’s ball-tampering ‘sandpaper plot’ in 2018 led to a series of teary resignations in front of the electronic cameras, long restrictions and an unmatched bout of soul-searching – by both the nation, which unexpectedly dealt with an id, and a sport that feared its fabled values had actually been deserted in favour of a win-at-all-costs culture.


The decade has actually seen quick modifications in technology that have impacted sports in methods few forecasted 10 years earlier.

Debate over whether advancements in sports equipment unfairly boost professional athletes’ performances is absolutely nothing brand-new. However the argument has been reignited by installing concern over the current variation of Nike’s carbon-fibre plated Vaporfly running shoes – strengthened by Eliud Kipchoge’s historical sub-two hour marathon while wearing them – and after that Brigid Kosgei’s obliteration of the ladies’s marathon record in a similar pair the following day.

A couple of months out of the Tokyo Olympics, sports is facing hard concerns over the tension between the inevitable quest for development and the core principle of reasonable competitors. Both the IAAF’s guidelines and the record books are being challenged in a manner not seen for many years. And those in power are under magnifying pressure to do something about it.

In a bid to prevent on-field oppressions and get rid of human error in officiating, sports have attempted to harness broadcasting improvements over the last years.

Some, like goal-line technology in football which was approved in 2012, has proved a success. However others, most notably the video assistant referee system (VAR), has been hugely questionable, specifically in the Premier League, where its very first season of use has descended into farce over limited offside decisions, sparking fury from fans and managers.

More than any other, the VAR crisis summarize sport’s battle to browse the inexorable march of technology without giving up the soul and spontaneity that cultivates a long-lasting accessory with numerous fans throughout the world. A question that is both technical and existential, and one that need to be addressed satisfactorily in the future if sport is to maintain its importance for a new generation of fans in the 2020 s.


Dina Asher-Smith won three medals – consisting of 200 m gold – at the 2019 World Champions in Doha

The 2010 s has been a game-changing years in regards to the profile, popularity and understanding of women’s sport.

Specific key moments stand apart: the guiding London 2012 victories of Jessica Ennis and Nicola Adams, Laura Kenny and Dame Sarah Storey becoming Britain’s most effective female Olympian and Paralympian respectively 4 years later on in Rio, Fallon Sherrock making history by beating male opponents in darts’ World Champion, Bryony Frost ending up being the first woman to ride a Grade One winner at Cheltenham, Dina Asher-Smith winning Britain’s very first worldwide women’s sprint title and Simone Biles redefining gymnastics.

The record TELEVISION audiences that saw the groundbreaking 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup felt like a watershed minute. As had actually the inspiration supplied by Team GB’s gold-medal winning hockey gamers at Rio 2016, England’s World Cup-winning cricketers in 2017, and their triumphant netball team at the Commonwealth Games in2018

Then there was the introduction of United States football star Megan Rapinoe as sport’s leading voice on equality and women’s rights, the face of a new era of athlete activism. The Commonwealth Games vowing to make Birmingham 2022 the very first significant multi-sport occasion to have more women’s than guys’s medal occasions is another turning point.

However while there has been clear progress in the 2010 s, equality of chance, pay, media protection, grassroots involvement and boardroom representation still feels years away from being realised.

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Megan Rapinoe on objective celebrations, discovering her voice and Donald Trump

The 2010 s will likewise be remembered for the decade-long saga of Caster Semenya, a story that continues to divide viewpoint in sport like little else.

In 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) ruled in favour of a hugely controversial IAAF rule that forced the South African runner – and other professional athletes with differences in sexual development (DSD) – to take hormone-limiting drugs if she wanted to contend in the middle-distance occasions she had actually dominated for many years. After a long legal fight, Semenya pulled out of the World Championships.

For Semenya’s supporters, the eligibility guideline was an appalling breach of human rights and a prejudiced act of sexism and racism created to target her. For others, it was an essential and proportional step to secure ladies’s sport and fair competitors.

However whatever one’s perspective, there is no doubt that the debate has confronted sport with unpleasant questions around gender identity and human biology, the suitability of sport’s standard male and female classifications, the reliability of the medical science on which the IAAF’s guideline relies, perceptions of womanhood and sport’s complex relationship with the law.

With the IAAF – and other sports – now intending to use the eligibility guidelines to transgender as well as DSD athletes, the controversy will extend well into the 2020 s.

And with Semenya’s appeal yet to be heard in the Swiss courts, among the most essential and controversial sports stories of the decade still has some way to run.


Buoyed by the success of a varied, multiracial Group GB, the hope was that the London 2012 Games – the biggest sporting event ever hosted in Britain – would function as a catalyst for a more tolerant and progressive sporting decade.

Yet simply a few years on, football discovers itself in the grip of a brand-new racism crisis, with increasing occurrences of abuse at both matches and on social media. As we get in the 2020 s, the reasons for this worrying pattern, and how to finest tackle it, have actually become probably the greatest question the sport faces.

In reality, the concern has actually raised its head at routine intervals throughout the 2010 s with a series of high-profile scandals; Luis Suarez in 2011 and after that John Terry in 2012 both prohibited by the FA for racially abusing challengers. And former England females’s supervisor Mark Sampson being found to have made racist remarks towards striker Eni Aluko in 2017 – having initially been cleared – threatened to engulf the entire FA.

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An investigation into racially prejudiced remarks Mark Sampson made to 2 England gamers, for which the FA apologised, was then based on a parliamentary query

But the sense is that with football reflecting a society that has ended up being more divided and polarised given that the Brexit vote in 2016, the scourge of abuse by those participating in matches has returned in the last 2 years, and is getting worse, shattering the widely-held assumption at the end of the last decade that such bigotry was no longer a significant issue.

This trend has actually been mirrored abroad where the abuse of England’s players in Bulgaria felt like a watershed moment in sport’s long fight with discrimination.

Some blame the increase of far-right political celebrations and nationalism throughout Europe, and the sanctions distributed by football authorities, while others want social networks business to do more to curb racist behaviour on their platforms. But if there is a positive to come out of all this, it is a brand-new age of professional athlete activism.

By fighting racism, Raheem Sterling reminded us that this was the decade when some of the world’s most popular professional athletes stopped hesitating of expressing a viewpoint on politics and society for worry of distressing sponsors or fans, and utilized social networks and their huge influence to try to make a distinction.

In doing so, Sterling has followed in the steps of conducting NFL star Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeled demonstrations throughout pre-match United States anthems to highlight cops brutality and racial injustice sparked a nationwide dispute.

Others have joined him on variety of concerns: NBA gamers LeBron James and Steph Curry on race, footballer Mesut Ozil and rugby’s Sonny Expense Williams on the persecution of the Uighur neighborhood in China, tennis excellent Serena Williams and Rapinoe on ladies’s rights, professional athlete Allyson Felix on maternity policies. The list is getting longer.

For years, athletes had actually been told to ‘adhere to sports’. In the 2010 s they finally found their voice.

Professional athlete welfare

At the turn of the last decade, the only element of Britain’s elite sporting culture that seemed to matter was efficiency.

Record success at succeeding Olympics and Paralympics after years of frustration protected the country’s status as a sporting powerhouse, and appeared to vindicate the ‘no-compromise’ technique of all-powerful financing agency UK Sport, the body tasked with turning lotto money into medals.

Excellent Britain won 214 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

But in the three-and-a-half years that have actually passed because Rio 2016, a series of bullying and discrimination scandals embroiling some of the nation’s best-funded high-performance programmes has shown the threats of such a technique.

There has been the fear that in a lot of cases, winning came at the expense of well-being and task of care. The case of previous sprint bicyclist Jess Varnish – who declared she had been the victim of discrimination when dropped from Group GB’s Olympic squad – was a specifying moment.

The NFL’s landmark $765 m compensation settlement with countless previous players over brain illness linked to concussion in 2013 was another milestone. The case raising awareness of the threats of head injuries in other contact sports, a lot of obviously rugby and football, both of which were required to perform fresh research and reconsider their go back to play protocols – or run the risk of extremely damaging suits of their own.

Till 2017 little idea was offered to safeguarding in the mainstream media. But then – thanks to the guts of whistle-blowers like previous Crewe gamer Andy Woodward – football’s dreadful non-recent child sex abuse scandal was lastly revealed.

The preliminary sense was that this was a terrible however isolated story. But quickly it ended up being clear Woodward was far from alone, the dark trick that football had actually harboured for so long lastly laid bare. In the middle of numerous cases, a series of high-profile convictions over the last two years, and the long-running Sheldon query into the scandal still to conclude, the FA’s gravest ever crisis will continue into the 2020 s.

10 years earlier, couple of had actually become aware of ex-Manchester City and Crewe coach Barry Bennell – since sentenced to 31 years for abusing young footballers. Or of Larry Nassar – the USA Gymnastics medical professional founded guilty for abusing hundreds of professional athletes.

Regretfully, these names now function as stark reminders of the darkest side of sport.

Alongside many minutes of excellent sporting victory and inspiration, the 2010 s have actually been a decade when sport has actually been brought into disrepute. Thanks to the courage of whistle-blowers and the work of investigative reporters, lots of oppressions and failings have actually at least been exposed.

With a lot of these stories straddling the turn of the years, the 2020 s will reveal how prepared sport is to discover lessons, gain back trust and recuperate its standing.

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