The world track and field championships, which began under a doping cloud in Beijing yesterday, can expect to face overseas media scrutiny of Hubble telescope proportions.
Tonight the lens will lock on the men's 100m final when form runner Justin Gatlin, twice suspended for positive tests to banned drugs, is expected to race world record holder Usain Bolt, who has always tested clean.
Bolt came off best in the 2013 duel but Gatlin hasn't been beaten since, noting "on paper I am in the best shape of my life, and I am ready to do whatever it takes". That's an awkward latter clause. A Bolt loss could further disenchant fans.
Doping is in the spotlight after the recent investigation by Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD claimed more than 800 athletes, and a third of all medallists in endurance events at Olympics and world championships from 2001 to 2012, had suspicious blood test results which were not followed up by the world governing body, the IAAF.
The values in the tests are not proof of cheating but Lord Sebastian Coe, the newly-elected IAAF president and head of the London Games, took the easy route, by way of justification. He blamed the media messenger rather than attacking a system in which disincentives to dope remain light.
"It is a declaration of war on my sport," he thundered in relation to the stories. "There is nothing in our history of competence and integrity in drug-testing that warrants this kind of attack. We should not be cowering. We should come out fighting."
Agencies reported Coe failed to mention doping in his speeches to delegates before and after the presidential vote, but reiterated his pursuit of "zero tolerance" at the news conference.
"There is a universal problem with [doping] in sport. We recognise that and we've been in the lead role as long as I've been in the sport," he said.
Such rhetoric is understandable and perhaps Coe has a point.
World records for 21 of the 47 events offered at world championship and Olympic level (45 per cent " eight out of 24 men's events and 13 out of 23 women's events) have not been broken in the last 20 years. There's no evidence to suggest those pre-1996 records were doping-assisted, but equally it seems odd in this era of technological and nutritional advancement that more records have not fallen.
However, Coe should be aware of Nick Willis' indictment that in the build-up to big races there is a delineation in athlete huddles between those suspecting of doping and those who don't. Like Coe, Willis is a middle distance runner who has been at the top of the sport for the past decade. The New Zealander's gone so far as to say he believes the sport might need to be rejected then rebuilt to make genuine gains.
How much more can the track and field audience, and subsequent broadcast deals which underpin the IAAF's revenue, sustain this?
Examinations of IAAF anti-doping practices will not cease until a perception of more proactive intervention and cleaner athletes emerges. The famed stamina Coe exercised as a double Olympic 1500m champion must be reasserted if he's to honour his election pledge of setting up an independent drug testing agency.
At present, first-time dopers proven to be red-handed cheats can incur a four-year ban, although few receive the full sentence because legalities like "unintentional use" offer means of mitigation. The prospect of life bans for first time offences fails in any court of human or civil rights and imprisonment is a sovereign issue for individual countries to decide. The latter generally requires evidence of trafficking or distributing. Alternatively, if the cases are tried through the United States grand jury system where lying constitutes perjury, it presents a bigger threat than a basic ban.
However, the hunt for cheats presents tough barriers.
Microdosing, where levels of a banned drug's use can be out of an athlete's system in time for 'Whereabouts' programme checks by morning, means evidence on possible users must be strong to justify breaching their privacy with an overnight raid.
Human frailty and a lack of resources means it's hard to sustain regular testing regimes in some countries, including those who achieve extensive success like Jamaica and Kenya. Both have received significant rebukes in recent years for a lack of doping vigilance, but no blanket bans.
The flipside is that money talks. Both those countries have their share of poverty to match a wealth of outstanding athletes. The pressure to succeed means athletes might be prepared to take risks to enjoy a better life and provide for their communities.
The alternatives could be surreal. Should the use of drugs be permitted under medical supervision? Some argue more legalisation might have advantages. The boundary between the therapeutic and performance-enhancing use of drugs can be blurred. Anti-doping rules often lead to complicated and costly administrative and medical follow-ups to ascertain whether drugs were taken legitimately. Whatever the solution to the current malaise, Lord Coe has another endurance battle on his hands to fulfil his mandate and convince skeptical fans.