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PROTRACK » GENERAL » The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics

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Former Aussie track star Raelene Boyle slams re-admitted athlete

by: Robert Craddock
Herald Sun
April 30, 2012

FORMER track queen Raelene Boyle claims it is a disgrace that a British athletics star who admitted to being a "walking junkie" is free to compete at the London Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport was scheduled to announce overnight that England's top 100m runner Dwain Chambers, banned for systematic drug use in the early 2000s, can compete at the Games for which he is a frontline selection candidate.

Scottish cyclist David Millar, who also has a drug-tainted past, is also available for selection under the same ruling. The British Olympic Association had attempted to ban Miller and Chambers, who failed a drug test in 2003, from Games participation for life but CAS has claimed it cannot do so under the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) code.

"I just think it's disgraceful," Boyle said.

"It is not the right thing to do for the good, honest athletes out there. I am shocked by the fact that the sporting bodies make decisions that say 'you have admitted to taking drugs and yet we are going to give you another go'.

"It is an absolute contradiction. No wonder people are confused about the whole drugs situation when you have rulings like this."

Three-time Olympic silver medallist Boyle was a famous casualty of the rampant drug culture of the 1970s, her two Munich 1972 silver medals coming behind East German's Renate Stecher, since exposed as a participant in a government-sponsored drug program.

"The drugs in sport situation has gone on for so long now. It goes way back to the 50s and may have started in the Tour de France or even further back," Boyle said.

"I just think it is a shame that officiandos from different sporting organisations have not discouraged it enough because they wanted improvement levels in their sport so they turned a blind eye to it.

"Sports are the worse off for this."

Chambers, 34, a former Commonwealth Games and European champion, was a participant in a drug program organised by the notorious Victor Conte of the BALCO group who spent time in prison after being convicted for illegal distribution of steroids.

Chambers documented his abuse in his autobiography, revealing it took a severe toll on his mental and physical health and how he pondered whether it had been worth the risk.

"Barely four months into my program to become the fastest man in the world I was on drugs nearly every day," he wrote. "At this point I was practically a walking junkie. I was on the lot and the sophisticated modern-day tests detected nothing.

"My motivation was the fear of what might happen. I had a $200,000 contract with adidas that had a clause in it which reduced my salary by half if I was no longer in the top three, so I convinced myself the drugs were working.

"When I was clean, my personal best was 9.97sec. A year on, after the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the pain of the cramps, the blood draws to make sure I wouldn't suffer a stroke, or worse, the inconsistent races and the disappointment of missing events, my PB was 9.87sec.

"I wondered what the hell I'd been doing to myself and deep down I knew that in the natural progression of a sprinter aged 25, I probably would have equalled that time anyway."

Last edited by Admin on Fri May 11, 2012 8:50 am; edited 2 times in total

2The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Empty IAAF President OK with Chambers on Fri May 11, 2012 8:29 am



Diack says 'no problem' if Chambers in Olympics

By The Associated Press
Published: May 10, 2012

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Image
Photo credit: AP | International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack speaks during his press conference on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Doha, prior to the upcoming IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting. With the London Olympics less than three months away, the season-opening Diamond League meet on Friday offers a chance for many of the world's elite athletes to chart their progress and renew old rivalries.(AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

DOHA, Qatar - (AP) -- The president of athletics' governing body says he would have "no problem" if British sprinter Dwain Chambers competes at the London Olympics.

Chambers served a two-year suspension after testing positive for a steroid in 2003. He was later banned for life from the games by the British Olympic Association. But sport's top court recently overturned such bans, ruling they amount to a second sanction.

IAAF president Lamine Diack said Thursday that Chambers has served his suspension and should be allowed to compete if he qualifies as the rules state.

Diack is against "condemning" a drug cheat to a lifetime ban, but says the punishment should be severe to ensure the best "cleanest athletes win."



Chambers is very lucky to be heading to the Olympics, says athletics legend Cram

By Sportsmail Reporter
9 May 2012

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Article-2141816-12D57A21000005DC-424_468x320
Dwain Chambers has missed the last two Olympics

Dwain Chambers should count himself very lucky to get a second chance to compete at the Olympics however much remorse he has shown for his drug-taking past, according to Steve Cram.

The controversial sprinter is eligible for selection for a place on the Great Britain team at London 2012 after the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban for drugs cheats was overturned in court.

The 34-year-old, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for a banned steroid in 2003, has rehabilitated himself in recent years by preaching the dangers of drugs and expressing remorse for his actions.

But Cram said: 'I'm sure Usain Bolt was full of remorse when he had his false start (in the 100 metres final at the World Championships in Daegu last year).

'If the rule is a rule at the time, to me you abide by those rules and that was the rule at the time, so I think he's fairly fortunate to have a second chance in that respect.

'I'm sure all people who've taken drugs are fairly sorry when they get caught.'

Chambers is allowed to try to qualify for Team GB after the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week ruled in favour of World Anti-Doping Association, who had declared the BOA's lifetime ban from the Olympics 'non-compliant' with their code.

His ban saw him miss the 2004 and 2008 Games in Athens and Beijing respectively, but he is likely to qualify for the Britain team in London as he remains the nation's leading sprinter.
Third time lucky: Chambers has missed the last two Olympics
Chambers is the most high-profile athlete set to benefit from the ruling, but Cram insists his part is minor.

'It's about the wider message, whether Dwain Chambers makes the team or not is fairly irrelevant,' said the former 1500 metres world record holder, who was helping officially launch, which acts as a search engine for thousands of UK based amateur running, cycling and swimming events.

'I don't think he's going to medal or anything, but it's the wider ongoing message which WADA have got to look at.

'I saw it announced they're going to re-test samples from 2004 and that's great, but it's retrospective.

'I think at the moment the deterrents are too weak and something else needs to be put in place.'



Jonathan McEvoy: Spare us the tears, Chambers, you set out to rob your fellow sprinters

By Jonathan McEvoy
7 May 2012

Let's just remind ourselves of the word peddled so liberally by the mercy-gone-mad apologists for Dwain Chambers. Redemption, they cried.

They said you would not treat a fraudster responsible for big-time theft as badly as poor Dwain. The culprit would serve his time in jail and then, hopefully reformed and certainly punished, be released into a life of freedom. Chambers, they said, was being punished for ever.

Well, let's look into Chambers’s world as he awaited the news that he could run at this summer’s Olympics.

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Article-2140938-12AE8ED3000005DC-459_468x286
Pride of Britain? I don't think so, Dwain.

He tells us he was in the scorching Caribbean heat - approximately 20oC warmer than in Belmarsh yard - training with some of the finest sprinters in the world. He could pay his fare and for his Kingston flat.

On learning of his Olympic reprieve, he hopped from one island to another.

What our hard-working nurses would give for such hardship. It’s hardly a case of slamming the door and throwing away the keys, is it?

His circumstances render the word redemption virtually irrelevant. He was competing widely, pursuing his sport.

It simply ought to be the right of the BOA to pick the GB team as they see fit. It is their club. It should be their rules. If fellow British athletes don’t want a drug cheat in their midst - as every poll has suggested, no matter what Chambers might say — then so be it.

What is more, he was a potential big-time thief. He set out to rob clean sprinters of medals and the millions of pounds they could make from success in the most lucrative track discipline.

That is why there is a case for lifetime bans, extending beyond the Olympics, even if lawyers have a heart attack at the idea.



Dwain Chambers: You can do all the training in the world, but if the crowd isn't cheering it's curtains

By Neil Wilson
7 May 2012

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Article-2141008-12F66920000005DC-272_634x392
Free to run: Dwain Chambers poses at Kingston's Emancipation Park on Monday after discussing his feelings
towards the BOA's decision to free him for London 2012

When Dwain Chambers heard he had been cleared to run for Olympic selection, you might have expected a bit of triumphalism, even jubilation, certainly celebration.

Instead, he sought isolation. He managed a smile when the phone call came and the verdict against the British Olympic Association was read to him. Then he walked out without a word to the squad of top Jamaicans he trains with, took flight to another Caribbean island and hid himself and his emotions away.

Training was the last thing he felt able to cope with.

The controversy about Dwain Chambers running in the Olympics Article-2141008-12C3D0DF000005DC-388_634x482

On Monday, back alongside former world record holder Asafa Powell and the others before seven hours of hard graft in Jamaica’s National Stadium, he spoke for the first time about the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision that opened his path to a controversial Olympic place.

The smile on Britain’s most derided drugs cheat is now broad, the emotions under control. Seated in the foyer of a downtown hotel, the words gushed from Chambers.

‘You cannot underestimate the effect this has had,’ he said. ‘I’d been raised up and then brought down. The announcement was going to be this week, then it wasn’t. I kept being pulled back and forth with emotions. I was stressed.

‘I’d try to train and feel worse. Everyone was saying I should be excited and elated but I wasn’t. I was just exhausted.

‘For years it’s been like running with Atlas on my back. Now that Atlas has been removed, I just feel drained. I didn’t realise it was going to have that effect on me.’

He brought the burden on himself by his use of anabolic steroids in 2002 and 2003. He was consequenetly suspended from competition for two years, though the BOA enforced a lifetime ban on his Olympic participation until last week’s court verdict denied them the right to select the team as they deemed fit.

‘It will be the biggest race of my life,’ he said. ‘This one matters more. It’s one thing to be eligible but I still have to make the team.’

He will be favourite to take an automatic place by meeting the 100metres qualification time of 10.18sec. In a deplorable reflection on UK Athletics, the pack of richly-funded British youngsters chasing him have never quite managed to knock him off his No 1 perch, even now he is 34.

He said: ‘It’s harder for me and I guess I have to fight that bit harder. But I am a little bit hungrier than them.

‘I didn’t even dream I could be at the Olympics. I thought I would be sitting at home watching. The Olympics was beyond me. I wouldn’t even have imagined it.

‘Now the reality is if I qualify I will be there. That is something I will cherish. I need to stay injury free and qualify, but it would be an honour. I have missed two Olympic Games. I want to make sure I do this one with pride and enjoy it.’

Stephen Francis, Powell’s coach who has been watching Chambers match his squad stride for stride for weeks, said at the weekend that the British athlete can make the Olympic final. Chambers smiles at the compliment. ‘I don’t fantasise but I haven’t ruled it out,’ he admits.

Chambers asked Francis during the World Indoor Championships in March about joining his group.

He explained: ‘I was scared about approaching him but he said, “Fine, no problem”, and his guys were more than happy. They laugh at me because I speak formal English. I have to speak real slow so they understand me.’

Not that there is breath enough for chatting during Francis’s sessions, 6am to 10am every morning and 3pm till 6pm every afternoon. Yesterday morning, the temperature close to 90oF by 8am, Francis had them doing eight 110m sprints.

‘You can see the pain etched on their faces,’ said Chambers’ manager Siza Agha, a criminal barrister who offered himself as an adviser when the sprinter was at his lowest point three years ago.

Chambers has financed the Jamaican venture himself.

‘I haven’t earned a massive amount in recent years, so I had to learn to save and be cost effective,’ he said. ‘Those savings are paying for a one-bedroom apartment 10 minutes from the track. All I need is a bed to sleep in, a track to run on and food to eat. I have just gone back to basics.’

He said he had received ‘tons’ of texts. They are from friends and well-wishers. But what of the millions of track fans who feel uneasy about his re-introduction? How will the crowd react when his name is announced as he lines up in the Olympic Stadium?

He is desperate for public support. ‘Otherwise it’s like going to a disco, having a DJ and no music,’ he said. ‘It don’t work. It’s the crowd that gets you going. You can do all the training in the world but if the crowd ain’t cheering, it’s curtains.

‘I think people respect my situation, that I’ve been honest about what I’ve done. Some don’t. Some feel very strongly. They feel if you are given an opportunity to compete for your country you shouldn’t jeopardise it, and I did. They are entitled to their opinion.

‘All I can do is say, “I’m sorry”. I made a mistake, a massive mistake, and all I want is another chance to correct it and do the best for my country.

‘I’m still day-dreaming. Something I thought would never happen for me is now happening but it doesn’t seem real.

‘What’s it going to take for it to sink in? Perhaps to see my family. I don’t know. I’ve skyped them but you can’t hug a computer. Something will have to switch the light on.’

He thinks most British athletes are cool about him — 90 per cent, he says — even the other sprinters who are rivals for the three Olympic places.

He hopes to hear when he gets back to Britain next week of the first relay practice he can attend, a promise made by chief coach Charles van Commenee should the BOA ban be lifted.

More invitations than in past seasons are arriving already. The first is to race three other sub-10sec men in Puerto Rico next weekend. Then he faces Usain Bolt in Ostrava on May 23.

The invitation he covets most, to run at Crystal Palace in July that would indicate UK Athletics’ lifting of their ban on his participation in commercial races in Britain, is still awaited.

‘For the past few years, where I could compete next was always in the forefront of my mind; what I’m going to be asked, what I’m going to say. It was a mess. I couldn’t concentrate at all. I am hoping now we can put all this behind us and look forward to what is going to be a great Olympic Games and to me making the team.

Impact: Two months after this triumphant shot in 2003, Chambers tested positive for the banned substance THG
‘I am going to enjoy every moment, go to the opening ceremony, everything.’

Cyclist David Millar, another of those who had been affected by the BOA ban, has suggested he might not bother with the Olympics because of the hassle. That thought has not occurred to Chambers. He watched the two Olympic Games from which he was banned and that told him everything about his desire.

‘It’s my passion but it hurt a lot watching,’ he said. ‘Your competitors are competing and you’re sitting at home. That killed me. Now I have been given a second lifeline. I would never jeopardise that again. Never ever, ever.’

Nor will he end his career after the Games.

‘Who knows, it could take me to places I haven’t imagined. So many doors may open for me. This may be the start of something else. I don’t know. I’m still muddled with the emotions but I feel alive again.’

His thoughts turn again to the Olympic Stadium, just 20 minutes from where he lives. He drives past it with his three children, Skye, six, Rocco, three, and Phoenix, six months, to visit friends. ‘My kids say, “Dad, are you going to be there?”’

‘I’ve always said “I don’t know”. Now I can say “Hopefully”. That will be nice.’

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