Athletics chiefs have admitted that the scale of doping seen in the Balco scandal has "tainted" the sport.
Some of athletics' biggest stars have been caught up in the controversy, in which the San Francisco company has admitted supplying drugs to athletes.
Istvan Gyulai, boss of governing body the IAAF, was speaking ahead of the World Championships in Helsinki.
"Balco has revealed what many suspected - that sport is tainted and undermined by organised doping," he said.
But the IAAF promised to use the fall-out of the doping scandal to clean up the sport.
Kelli White was stripped of the 100m and 200m gold medals she won in Paris.
She admitted steroid use and has become an anti-drug spokeswoman as she serves a two-year ban.
Five-time Olympic gold medallist Marion Jones has been under heavy scrutiny but has never failed a drugs test and has continually denied using performance-enhancing substances.
But even though the sport's reputation has been hit, IAAF secretary general Gyulai insists the revelations also had their good side.
"These disclosures will help us better target our efforts to eradicate doping from athletics and sustain fair play," he told the IAAF Congress ahead of the World Championships, which start on Saturday.
The IAAF has increased the monitoring of athletes and more than 850 doping tests will be conducted in Helsinki - more than twice the number carried out two years ago.