TOKYO — The low numbers came in from across the globe and covered most every distance, from 100 meters through the marathon. The reasons behind all the improving times throughout the sport of track and field were every bit as diverse: better shoe technology, better running surfaces, less wear and tear on bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic and just a good old-fashioned itch to start running for real again.

Another possibility: For the better part of three months during the pandemic, testing for performance-enhancing drugs came to a virtual standstill worldwide. Only in recent months has it begun to ramp back to normal.

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