A number of years ago, I remember hearing a debate on the radio. The question was whether they should have two separate Olympics: one for ‘clean’ athletes and one for those who openly took drugs.
Even as young as I was (this may have been ten years ago), I thought it was appalling that this was even considered. The drug-filled tournament would not be about breaking records. It would instead be a competition between drug companies on who could make Athlete A run faster, jump higher, throw further. And this assumes that every single drug an ‘athlete’ put into their body wouldn’t be damaging them for the rest of their lives. Drugs always have a price.
I have always had an anti-drug policy in sport, as, I hope, the majority of people have. Nonetheless, you can never completely keep drugs away from competition. It has been present for as long as drugs were available, and I’m sure there have been one or two fortunate enough to never get caught.
Even the IOC (International Olympic Committee) President, Jacques Rogge, believes London 2012 will not be free of drug cheats. Certainly, a clean games is probably something we can only ever dream of. Rogge says “To say there will be no positive cases would be naive and misleading. I hope it’s the case, but reality tells me that there may be positive cases.” This implies that although there will be cheats, they will be caught. Rogge seems to believe there is enough testing. And so there may will be.
In April, the British Olympic Assocation (BOA) will challenge the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA says that the BOA should not indefinitely ban all of its drug cheats from the Olympics after they have already served a ban, since this would be punishing the athlete twice. The BOA says it is a selection policy rather than a second punishment.
I don’t actually care if it is a second punishment. They deserve it. Let me make it clear, I’m not talking about athletes who take drugs innocently from their food or without realising the ingredients of Aspirin had changed. I’m talking about those who knowingly and willingly took drugs to enhance their performance.
They should be indefinitely banned from the Olympics. I don’t care if it’s their livelihood and if they’ve already served a five year ban. The Olympic medal is the highest honour an athlete can hope to achieve. Drug cheats do not deserve an opportunity to win one.
The BOA’s policy is a good one. It means that the athletes that represent Great Britain in the Olympics are clean, have always been clean and therefore deserve all the accolades that come their way. I don’t want to see Dwain Chambers win a medal. I don’t even want to see him run at Commonwealth or European or World level, but unfortunately, the BOA don’t see that as a selection issue in these events.
Drug cheats keep rising youngsters off the track. Every time Dwain Chambers has an opportunity to run for a place in the Europeans, a drug-free British youngster is losing out on that chance.
They broke the rules and should face the consequences.
No drug cheats in the Olympics. It’s just not right.
Therefore, I am standing alongside the BOA and hoping that the Court of Arbitration in Sport will agree with them too.