Thursday, 29 December 2011

Olympic Year - but will the drug cheats win?

I can’t wait till 2012 and getting closer to the Olympics coming to London. I have my tickets and I hope and believe it will be one of the greatest games ever – and that there will be a sporting legacy left behind.

I was disappointed not to get tickets for cycling, as it is a sport that I love to watch and one that Britain has come to dominate but not only on the track as we now are a force in road racing.

I also expect GB to collect medals in a number of sports and for all our athletes to preform to their highest level but I do have one worry and that these games are again overshadowed by the use of performance enhancing drugs.

I have just finished reading the fantastic, ‘Racing through the Dark’ by GB cyclist David Millar. Not only is it a fantastic book on cycling but it gets you close to the seedy world of the sports doper.

We keep coming up with new drug tests, but the chemists keep coming up with new drugs. We catch cyclist, athletes but they appeal and come back but we need to do more.

The reason why Millar’s book is so readable is that he admits he took drugs and in most cases names to doctors, trainers and managers who either advised him to take the drugs or turned a blind eye to the doping.

People will always cheat, always dope but we need to not just catch them and ban but it is those who supply both the drugs and the knowledge of how to use them who need to be caught then both banned for life and if a criminal offence has been undertaken – jailed.

As a young soldier I was on a mountaineering trip in the Italian Alps – one of our climbers had been a promising female hurdler, she was in the top 3 in the UK in the early 80’s but she gave up. I asked her why, she said her coach told her she had reached her ceiling and that if she wanted to go further she needed to use chemicals and he could supply. At that time she was at one of the leading Athletic clubs in the UK, I believed her and remembered what she had told me after a leading British female was caught at a later Commonwealth games – she was a member of the same club!

When an athlete is caught in particular a young g one, we need to find out who supplied him and whilst he is banned his coach should be banned at the same time.
David Millar could soon be allowed to appeal against his Olympic ban alongside Dwaine Chambers. Millar would have far more support than Dwaine because of his honesty but I believe they should stay banned. Millar does not ride for the Sky team as they have a nil doping policy but he was welcomed back by the GB and Scotland teams for the World Cycling Championship and the Commonwealth Games but even so the Olympic ban should stay and all countries should follow the GB lead.

We need to catch not only the athletes but the coaches and managers who pedal this filth – there is a pressure to win, even more so as the host nation. This has been highlighted by the recent bans placed on Indian athletes are the Commonwealth Games.
Let us just hope London 2012 are the games where the cheats do not win – and that will only be achieved if other competitors who do cheat come clean and tell us of those who helped them. A certain Lance Armstrong is one ex cyclist who could help so much – did he cheat?


Alasdair Ross said...

Within an hour of writing this we have a sport/drug story- but good news not just the sportsman who was banned -

Alasdair Ross said...

And it seems I chose a very topical issue -