If it were the Miss Universe beauty pageant, the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, would have taken a much shorter time to strip Ben Johnson of Canada the gold medal he supposedly won for ruling the 100-meter dash for men.
But there was an official process for taking back the first-place mint from Johnson.
After three days, it was established by a board of inquiry that the sprinter was indeed a fraud, with the dark episode for sports in general eventually becoming just a footnote to notoriety.
The Canadian had been found to be relying on stanozolol, a banned anabolic steroid.
No wonder the unbelievable time (9.79 seconds) he posted in track and field’s centerpiece event against a formidable field that included Carl Lewis, winner of three gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiad.
In the case of American runner Marion Jones, it took much longer for the anti-doping people to catch up with her.
It proved harder to unmask her because, for a long time, she had vehemently denied popping any PED for the three gold and two bronze medals that she scooped from the 2000 Sydney Olympics in Australia.
Jones admitted to using PEDs in 2007 after the Balco scandal pinned her down for long-term steroid-taking.
She was told by Olympic authorities to return her Sydney medals and she did.
The American, a former basketball player, went to jail for her wrongdoing.
Neither Johnson nor Jones could possibly outdo Lance Armstrong, the American seven-time winner of the Tour de France and a cancer survivor.
Armstrong, like Jones, had stridently denied ever taking anything that would have boosted his chances of bagging the biggest prize in men’s cycling from 1999-2005.
But, pushed to a corner by at least one teammate who had snitched on him, he was finally stripped of the unprecedented se¬ven titles in 2013.
In that year, the Texas native admitted to “blood transfusions to boost oxygen levels” and to drug use throughout his career as a professional cyclist.
His drugs of choice? Cortisone, testosterone and erythropoietin or EPO.
Armstrong blamed his “ruthless desire to win” for his deliberately calculated drug use.
There was nothing dishonorable in the “stripping” of the Miss Universe 2015 “crown” of Miss Colombia Ariadna Arevalo Gutierrez.
But it took just a few minutes to humiliate her before millions of TV watchers worldwide on Sunday (Monday, Philippine time), through no fault of hers or the real winner’s, the Philippines’ Pia Alonso Wurtzbach.
The emcee (game show host and Emmy Award winner Steve Harvey) owned up to the monumental boo-boo of announcing that Ariadna was the “winner” and Pia, the “first runner-up” in the 64th edition of arguably the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant.
Johnson was in a better place, his returning of the Seoul gold medal that he “won” probably done discretely and in private.
Jones and Armstrong may have returned theirs under the same circumstances, with neither of them losing face given the shameful history of their “victories.”
Maybe, it’s time for the International Olympic Committee to be harsher with cheats by stripping them of any medal of any color right then and there (if technology would make it possible for fraudsters to be ruled instantly as having doped their way to the podium).
At least that would be a consolation for Miss Gutierrez and Miss Wurtzbach.
Congratulations to the two unflappable ladies but shame on Johnson, Jones and Armstrong and their ilk!