Today, the UK's premier sprinter Dwain Chambers learns whether his appeal to the country's Olympic committee will allow the tainted sprinter to compete at Beijing in 2008.
Chambers case is particularly disturbing. Chambers worked with tainted coach Remi Korchemny who obtained drugs from BALCO. Chambers did not just use a little nandrolone from supplements; he doped with the cream, and the clear (anabolic steroids) HGH, insulin, and modafinil.
Chambers legal case stems from the BOA (British Olympic Association) lifetime ban for drug-cheats. Chambers contends this is restraint of trade (interesting; couldn't any common criminal in prison claim this?). The BOA fears a protracted battle.
A formidable array of opponents line up against the disgraced sprinter. The Telegraph for instance. A long list of UK Olympic athletes including Chambers sprinting foe Craig Pickering, oppose the sprinter's Olympic dreams. Famous UK track coach Frank Dick also opposes the sprinter.
Chambers is seeking a temporary injunction against the British Olympic Association's rule that prevents athletes who have committed a serious doping offence from representing Team GB at future Games. As Chambers becomes the first athlete to challenge the BOA rule in court Jo Pavey, Martyn Rooney and Goldie Sayers, three leading British track and field athletes, have joined the large contingent supporting the 16-year-old bylaw.
Two weeks ago, when the British Athletes' Commission revealed more than 100 members had signed its petition to keep the bylaw, only Craig Pickering, the sprinter, and 800 metres runner Becky Lyne were among Chambers' contemporaries to have put pen to paper. But since then Beijing-bound Pavey, the Commonwealth 5,000m silver medallist, the 400m runner Rooney and javelin thrower Sayers have said yes to the bylaw remaining in place. Helen Clitheroe, Andrew Steele and Will Sharman are among others who have signed the petition along with the former Olympic champions Sally Gunnell and David Hemery.
The Times Online discusses the Chambers legal challenge:
Dwain Chambers will sit in Court 76 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London today and await a verdict that could define his career or end it. If the sprinter is successful in gaining an historic injunction temporarily lifting his Olympic ban, he will be added to Great Britain’s modest list of medal contenders for the Games in Beijing. If he fails then, subject to an appeal, he may have nowhere left to run.
Jonathan Crystal, QC, will argue that the BOA bylaw banning convicted dopers for life is “an unreasonable restraint of trade”. The irony is that Chambers’s trade has been restrained by Euromeetings, an umbrella group of leading promoters who decided last year not to issue invitations to drugs cheats. Chambers has been able to run only at low-level meetings this year and remains excluded from the grand-prix circuit.
Crystal will say that it is unfair that the sprinter has served a two-year doping ban, in accordance with the rules of the IAAF, the sport’s world governing body, but still has an Olympic ban. He will state that other countries do not have such a bylaw and a number of former offenders will be competing in Beijing. Robert Englehart, QC, for the BOA, will ask why it has taken Chambers four years to present his case.
However the Birmingham Post offers a spirited defense of Chambers:
To describe the issue as difficult does not even begin to untangle the many threads that have become so twisted. The High Court will decide on the legal position, whether Chambers can go to Beijing, but there is no one to arbitrate the moral case. Should he be allowed?
The answer to that depends on an individual’s beliefs about the what is good for athletics and what is good for Dwain Chambers the person.
Clearly as a human being Chambers knows he has done wrong and is contrite but more importantly clean of the seven banned substances he once used to cheat himself, his friends and his rivals.
There may be a physiological legacy of the drugs he has taken and some mental benefits having experienced certain high pressure situations he might not otherwise have reached. Both are valid concerns but as things stand neither can be proved - or disproved.
What we are left with, therefore, is a series of related issues each of which seem to point towards Chambers being allowed to run in Beijing.
There is apprehension about the message it would send out, a fear that other, younger athletes would look at his case and deduce that a two-year ban is a small sacrifice to pay for a shot at an Olympic gold medal.
That theory breaks down because if they serve a ban they will have been caught and will have been stripped of their medal.
The Telegraph calls Chambers regimen of drugs (he admits to) "The Magnificant Seven" Chambers drug cocktail is typical VIcto Conte PED use.
Dwain Chambers took the following seven drugs, according to Victor Conte, of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), who supplied him:
- Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG): Once undetectable, this is the designer steroid, nicknamed "the clear", that Chambers tested positive for in 2003.
- Testosterone cream: Used in winter to work alongside THG.
- Erythropoietin (EPO): Boosts the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells and once thought to be used solely in stamina-based sports.
- Human Growth Hormone: By injection and used during the winter to aid recovery from heavy weight sessions.
- Insulin: Another one used during heavy winter training and used in conjunction with dextrose, whey protein and creatine.
- Modafinil: The American sprinter and drug-cheat Kelli White tried to get away with this stimulant as a treatment for narcolepsy. One tablet is taken an hour before competition.
- undefined: Used to accelerate the metabolic rate before races. Two tablets taken one hour before competition.