Canadian wheelchair athlete Jeff Adams's storied career took one more jolt Sunday night when he was disqualified from a wheelchair race at the Beijing Parlympics. Adams qualified to move on in the games, however it was ruled he caused a tack accident that wiped out another competitor. To the Vancouver Sun:
Quietly and under the radar - which is unusual for Jeff Adams - the red-haired, multi-tattooed, earring-adorned wheelchair racer from Brampton, Ont., left China on Monday a day after being disqualified in a heat of the T54 1,500 metres.
It was an inglorious end to Adams' long fight just to compete in Beijing. He spent a reported $750,000 to challenge a two-year suspension, overturned in May, for a positive cocaine test.
Racing late Sunday night, with no media around after wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal had dazzled by winning two golds 80 minutes apart, Adams ran a time in the second of five heats that was good enough to qualify for Tuesday evening's final.
But he was disqualified after he was ruled to have caused a crash that took out Yanfeng Cui of China and Alain Fuss of France. Canada appealed, but it was denied.
The 1,500 metres, the marquee event in wheelchair racing, was the only event Adams had entered.
Adams tends to be flamboyant in his actions, however this development has to be disappointing for the athlete.
Adams, 37, won two gold medals at the Sydney Paralympics and a bronze in Athens, where he famously wheeled backwards up the steps of the centuries old Parthenon to promote accessibility.
But his career appeared to have collapsed in shame when he tested positive for cocaine at the 2006 Canadian wheelchair marathon in Ottawa. He then became the object of ridicule when he claimed that an unknown woman had shoved cocaine into his mouth without permission while they were in a bar, leading to contamination of his dope-testing catheter.
Last May, after a lengthy and costly legal battle, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, lifted the two-year ban, saying it found Adams' story credible. The CAS made note of his "uncontroverted testimony and high character."
To then qualify for Beijing, Adams spent $8,000 of his own money to rent a track in Atlanta, hire certified officials and fly in his training partner Josh Cassidy and his South African rival, Ernst van Dyk. They ran two 1,500 races, with Adams recording the third fastest time of the year in one and going just under the Canadian qualifying standard in the other.
But the effort collapsed with Sunday's disqualification.
Payette said Adams flew home to Canada on Monday afternoon.