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Dwain Chambers Loses Legal Challenge To Olympic Ban


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Chambers loses Olympic ban case (BBC Sport)

Any thoughts? Personally, I'm surprised by the ruling and I have to say I'm also disappointed.

Hip hip! Hooray!

The whole point of the fight against doping in sport, as well as simple fairness to all athletes, is to defend the credibility of sport itself. Given the ill feeling towards Chambers, particularly as he had no mitigating circumstances, as he was a part of a systematic doping campaign specifically aimed and focused at improving the user's performance, including Chambers in Team GB would not only create ill-feeling within the Team GB squad itself, but damage the credibility of sport as a smack in the teeth for the anti-doping movement.

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I don’t accept the basic premise that this case is about the credibility of sport or that the ruling enhances that credibility. Quite the reverse in fact. I believe this case, from the point of view of the BOA, has been about trying to claim some sort of moral high ground that doesn’t exist. And I also believe the ruling has set the fight against drugs in sport backwards.

Let me say at the outset that I did find, and still do find, the thought of Dwain Chambers competing for Great Britain distasteful. But, as much as this is a case about one athlete, it is also an issue that is far bigger than one athlete. It is about doing as much as we can to ensure that we have credible, drug-free sport that people can believe in and trust. In this context, the Olympic Games cannot be regarded as a special case. And if there was a historic belief that the Olympics embodied certain sporting ideals, then that belief was surely shot out of the water forever the moment that Ben Johnson tested positive in Seoul in 1988. From that moment on, and with similar high-profile cases since, you cannot look at the Olympics in such a sentimental way again.

If the BOA by-law was about fighting doping and about promoting fairness to athletes, then why did athletes like Christine Ohuruogu and Tim Don have their Olympic bans overturned on appeal? If we are going to apply the letter of the rule, then they were guilty of doping offences and this lifetime ban should apply to them as well. But it doesn’t, so to say that this is about promoting fairness and fighting doping just doesn’t stand up.

What this is about is no more than empty posturing. If seeking to set an example against drugs is so important in the context of selecting a team for the Olympic Games, then why doesn’t it apparently matter for the World Championships or the European Championships or the Commonwealth Games? British athletes who have served drug suspensions can compete at those events but not at the Olympics. There is no logic or reason or justice in a situation where some events are open to formerly banned athletes but other events are not. And that is before you take into account how isolated this country is on this subject. Colin Moynihan et al may want us to believe this is about principle, but this principle has been broken so often it is worthless.

As much as we may not like it, Dwain Chambers should be going to the Olympics. He is the fastest 100 metre runner in this country and, if he represented any other nation in the world, he would be able to go to Beijing. We should be using him as a role model. He can put the anti-drugs message out there in a much more powerful way than any governing body suit ever could. Instead, he has been popularly vilified in a way that I think is quite scandalous.

I honestly believed that Chambers would win his case and was shocked when I heard the result today. And I still believe that his stance, and the stance of those of us who believe the by-law is fundamentally flawed, will be vindicated in the end. But I would not blame Chambers for a moment if he chose to stick two fingers up to this country and go elsewhere to ply his trade. It is only because he chose to challenge what is one of the most ridiculous rules in world sport that he has been vilified in the manner that he has.

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I don’t accept the basic premise that this case is about the credibility of sport or that the ruling enhances that credibility. Quite the reverse in fact. I believe this case, from the point of view of the BOA, has been about trying to claim some sort of moral high ground that doesn’t exist. And I also believe the ruling has set the fight against drugs in sport backwards.

Let me say at the outset that I did find, and still do find, the thought of Dwain Chambers competing for Great Britain distasteful. But, as much as this is a case about one athlete, it is also an issue that is far bigger than one athlete. It is about doing as much as we can to ensure that we have credible, drug-free sport that people can believe in and trust. In this context, the Olympic Games cannot be regarded as a special case. And if there was a historic belief that the Olympics embodied certain sporting ideals, then that belief was surely shot out of the water forever the moment that Ben Johnson tested positive in Seoul in 1988. From that moment on, and with similar high-profile cases since, you cannot look at the Olympics in such a sentimental way again.

If the BOA by-law was about fighting doping and about promoting fairness to athletes, then why did athletes like Christine Ohuruogu and Tim Don have their Olympic bans overturned on appeal? If we are going to apply the letter of the rule, then they were guilty of doping offences and this lifetime ban should apply to them as well. But it doesn’t, so to say that this is about promoting fairness and fighting doping just doesn’t stand up.

What this is about is no more than empty posturing. If seeking to set an example against drugs is so important in the context of selecting a team for the Olympic Games, then why doesn’t it apparently matter for the World Championships or the European Championships or the Commonwealth Games? British athletes who have served drug suspensions can compete at those events but not at the Olympics. There is no logic or reason or justice in a situation where some events are open to formerly banned athletes but other events are not. And that is before you take into account how isolated this country is on this subject. Colin Moynihan et al may want us to believe this is about principle, but this principle has been broken so often it is worthless.

As much as we may not like it, Dwain Chambers should be going to the Olympics. He is the fastest 100 metre runner in this country and, if he represented any other nation in the world, he would be able to go to Beijing. We should be using him as a role model. He can put the anti-drugs message out there in a much more powerful way than any governing body suit ever could. Instead, he has been popularly vilified in a way that I think is quite scandalous.

I honestly believed that Chambers would win his case and was shocked when I heard the result today. And I still believe that his stance, and the stance of those of us who believe the by-law is fundamentally flawed, will be vindicated in the end. But I would not blame Chambers for a moment if he chose to stick two fingers up to this country and go elsewhere to ply his trade. It is only because he chose to challenge what is one of the most ridiculous rules in world sport that he has been vilified in the manner that he has.

have mixed emotions - he has served his time and if clean should run - but i also feel i am glad he is not running at the olympics. this is the pinnacle of sport and would hate the shaddow it casts (and already does - marion jones et al) over the games. so yes - reluctantly i feel the judgement is correct! BUT SHOULD BE FOR ALL CHAMPIONSHIPS IF THIS IS THE STANCE THAT THE BOA HAS TAKEN. all federations should sing from the same hymn sheet!

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If the IOC come down and impose something like that, that would change the situation to some extent. I would still argue that you cannot make the Olympics a special case, but at least there would be consistency. It is the inconsistency that I can't stand at the moment.

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If the IOC come down and impose something like that, that would change the situation to some extent. I would still argue that you cannot make the Olympics a special case, but at least there would be consistency. It is the inconsistency that I can't stand at the moment.

totally agree - i think it is odd that the BOA is the only one in the world that bans convicted athletes from competing - so it does feel a little futile to be honest! i guess the BOA is taking the moral highground?

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Christine Ohuruogu, Tim Don and other athletes such as Alain Baxter all had mitigating circumstance to their case and that is why their appeals against the lifetime ban were over ruled. Chambers was willingly and knowingly taking part in a setup that was designed to systematically enhance performance. I doubt this would not be considered mitigating circumstances...

The Olympic Games are treated differently because they are in most sports the pinnacle of an athletes' career, hence Chambers' desperation to go... The atmosphere at an Olympic Games is totally different to that of any other sporting event... there is just something there that make it like no other. I do wish it would become WADA/IOC policy though, rather than a bye-law of just one NOC.

If athletes were given a four year ban, instead of two, guaranteeing that they would miss at least one Olympic Games, it may be a different situation, perhaps? But to have a two year ban and they to be able to still go to the Olympic Games...

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I'm relieved that the headlines from this point onwards won't be dominated by someone who broke the rules but couldn't take his punishment; a punishment he knew he was risking as soon as he took a cocktail of chemicals.

I'm relieved that the morale of Team GB won't be risked for the sake of one athlete, an athlete who has treated the sport and its administraors with little respect.

I'm relieved that other clean hardworking athletes will be on the plane to Beijing, something they fully deserve.

Claims of inconsistency are valid; but for once I feel we are leading the world on this issue and other nations have to catch up with our standards, not the other way around.

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Christine Ohuruogu, Tim Don and other athletes such as Alain Baxter all had mitigating circumstance to their case and that is why their appeals against the lifetime ban were over ruled. Chambers was willingly and knowingly taking part in a setup that was designed to systematically enhance performance. I doubt this would not be considered mitigating circumstances...

They were as guilty of doping offences as Chambers was. If it applies to one, it must surely to apply to all. Otherwise what is the point of having the by-law in the first place?

The Olympic Games are treated differently because they are in most sports the pinnacle of an athletes' career, hence Chambers' desperation to go... The atmosphere at an Olympic Games is totally different to that of any other sporting event... there is just something there that make it like no other. I do wish it would become WADA/IOC policy though, rather than a bye-law of just one NOC.

You cannot have a principle of wanting drug free sport and only actively promote it once every four years. It has to be continual or it falls. You either let formerly banned athletes compete at every event or you ban them completely. The sort of halfway house that we have at the moment is farcical.

If athletes were given a four year ban, instead of two, guaranteeing that they would miss at least one Olympic Games, it may be a different situation, perhaps? But to have a two year ban and they to be able to still go to the Olympic Games...

I wouldn't advocate a four year ban for a first offence. It just seems to me that the position of arguing the Olympics are somehow 'special' in this context is incredibly misguided given comparatively recent history.

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I'm relieved that the headlines from this point onwards won't be dominated by someone who broke the rules but couldn't take his punishment; a punishment he knew he was risking as soon as he took a cocktail of chemicals.

I'm relieved that the morale of Team GB won't be risked for the sake of one athlete, an athlete who has treated the sport and its administraors with little respect.

I'm relieved that other clean hardworking athletes will be on the plane to Beijing, something they fully deserve.

Claims of inconsistency are valid; but for once I feel we are leading the world on this issue and other nations have to catch up with our standards, not the other way around.

How can we argue this is about standards for one championship and then pick a team for another event without these concerns apparent? It is insulting to the intelligence of the British sporting public for people like Colin Moynihan and Sebastian Coe to pontificate about drug-free sport when it's the Olympics in the certain knowledge that if Chambers meets the criteria next year, he'll go to the World Championships without a second thought. You can say Chambers 'couldn't take the punishment' as much as you want. But that doesn't alter the hypocrisy that the defence of this punishment has entailed.

We're not leading the world in anything. The people in charge at the BOA might as well be in New Labour. 'Tough on drugs, tough on the causes of drugs', they would say. The slogan was a load of nonsense for Labour and it's a load of nonsense for the BOA. If they really wanted to put the anti-drugs message out there in a clear and consistent manner, then they would be going down the road of total period ban on first offence (I personally prefer the current two years, but I'm sure some would prefer longer) and then total life ban on second offence. It's as simple as that. Why can't they, or won't they, do it?

We have already discussed how the punishment has been bent for other people. I think the double standards are obvious. As for the claim that team morale is on the line, I don't buy it. Athletics is a predominantly individual sport. Whether he is or is not there should not affect properly focussed individuals.

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They were as guilty of doping offences as Chambers was. If it applies to one, it must surely to apply to all. Otherwise what is the point of having the by-law in the first place?

So you are saying that someone (Baxter) who takes a medicine for a cold (vicks inhaler) and does not realise that the US version contains a low dose of the banned substance methamphetamine (which the british version, which he regularly uses when needed, does not), should receive the same punishment as someone (Chambers) who knowingly and willingly took a substance (THG) being told that it would improve his performance and he would not get caught? If only everything in life was as cut and dried as that logic...

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But that's my whole point. Either you enforce the by-law consistently or it is not worth enforcing at all. And if you had a full reform of drug sanctions then you can build degrees of offence into that. The current system is too inflexible.

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But that's my whole point. Either you enforce the by-law consistently or it is not worth enforcing at all. And if you had a full reform of drug sanctions then you can build degrees of offence into that. The current system is too inflexible.

How is that though? Mitigating circumstances are exactly that. Each incident has its own set of circumstances. Imagine if they had rules like you speak of at your work place for disciplinary procedures! Just like a disciplinary investigation/hearing in the work place, each incident has its own set of circumstances and should be judged individually on the merit of those circumstances. Things aren't so black and white.

However, that doesn't mean to say that the rules should therefore not exist at all, just because they can't be judged on such a cut and dried basis. The rules are in place for a reason, athletes are aware that they exist and they are fair in that they have an appeals process. The Olympic Games are wholly owned by the International Olympic Committee and as a subsidiary of the IOC, the British Olympic Association are within their right to both pick the team and set rules for eligibility to participate in Team GB. They own the rights to the Team GB Brand and have the final say as to who are a part of Team GB and who are associated with it (although rules currently hand over commercial rights to LOCOG - who fully support the bye-law anyway).

As for the argument that Chambers has "already served his time", this bye law has always been in place, always been a part of the disciplinary rules against doping (as has the appeals process, for mitigating circumstances) and therefore the Olympic lifeban is part of the parcel of his said "time", as well as the ban given by the IAAF.

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To back the point about the BOA's right to determine who participates in the team, Schedule 28.3 of the Olympic Charter states:

The NOCs have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries

at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental or world multi-sports competitions

patronised by the IOC. In addition, each NOC is obliged to participate in the Games of the

Olympiad by sending athletes.

Edited by Colonel Iredale
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  • 2 weeks later...
Poll: Doping questions cloud Americans' view of Games

By A.J. Perez, USA TODAY

Positive drug tests or admissions of doping in recent years have cost athletes in the Olympics' most popular sports their records, their medals, their careers, even their freedom.

Now, with the Beijing Games set to begin next week, the scandals are threatening to cost those sports their credibility.

Just over half of American sports fans believe that at least some Olympic athletes in track and field use performance-enhancing drugs. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll conducted last weekend also shows that when a track and field athlete sets a world record, more than 1 in 3 sports fans are suspicious that doping helped.

More at USA Today: "Poll: Doping questions cloud Americans' view of Games"

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