- 13 Jul 08, 09:50 AM
I can officially say I'm feeling a little drained. Or should that be "Dwained"?
Is he going to Beijing? Should he be going? When will they say if he's going? Who else is going? Are those going happy that he could be going? Is anybody going? Where's this sentence going?
At the start of Saturday, Dwain Chambers was actually going nowhere. He was stuck outside the car park without a pass. A cheeky little ruse by Dave Collins and co? No matter, he got in and it was another fascinating day in Birmingham. Even the sun came out to play.
One day to go at the Olympic trials here in Birmingham and ohhhh so many questions and very few answers. All at a time when the country should be celebrating the beautiful sport.
I'll jump into a spot of athlete-lauding in a bit - thanks in no small part to the ginger-haired wonder I met on Friday - but let's discuss Chambers first.
One question I do know the answer to is this: Does anybody care if Dwain is actually going to Beijing? The answer is a massive "yes", with few people sitting on the fence.
Firstly, the supporters. I reckon I've spoken to more than a hundred visitors to the Alexander Stadium over the last two days and I can count those in favour of Chambers going to China on the left foot of my three-toed sloth.
One of those was a 16-year-old female, who probably now regrets telling me that Dwain should not be banned because he had done his time. Her dad's glaring eyes suggested she was just about to be grounded until London 2012.
From what I heard and saw, most of Chambers' supporters came - perhaps worryingly -from the under-20 age group. But despite a few boos - and it was just a few boos, whatever you may read in the papers in the morning - there were a lot of cheers for him.
On his one-eighth of a lap of honour - which included lying down and kissing the track - there seemed to be genuine warmth and appreciation from the crowd.
Perhaps everybody's being just a bit too British about this, thinking "we'll criticise him when his back's turned, but if he's five foot away celebrating with his fist in the air, why not give the jolly fine fellow a good old clap".
A typical response from the older folk was that Chambers was setting a bad example to the kids. One athletics coach from Birmingham told me: "Call me old-fashioned but if that ban is overturned, what message does that send out to aspiring athletes?" I didn't call him old-fashioned, but is that really such an old-fashioned view?
Is a more forgiving and tolerant approach the modern way we should be looking at things these days?
I asked Steve Backley (having replaced his spear with a 5 Live microphone) about the human rights issue and giving Chambers a second chance. I almost had the mic shoved back up my nose.
"What, for someone who cheated the system, drained it of resources, courted the media? We've gone mad if we think something needs adjusting in his favour. It baffles me why we're so tolerant," he told me.
"Look at Tasha Danvers-Smith." (She lost her 400m hurdles title on Saturday without making the standard A qualifying time). "Who's going to be writing about her? She was an Olympic finalist in 2000 and is probably crying into her kitbag right now. She's the real athletics story."
Darren Campbell, Olympic silver medallist in Sydney and another employee of 5 Live, was slightly more supportive. "When Dwain first got caught I said I'd welcome him back to the sport, and I've been very consistent with that," he said.
"Everybody deserves a second chance - you've just got to right that wrong first. But people have been mentioning this on the same level as murderers. We really need to keep it in perspective."
Which allows me to wrap up this piece with a whole chunk of perspective. Believe it or not, there are some other athletes out there that aren't called Dwain Chambers that probably won't make it into print on Sunday. And they're good. Very good.
Starring on day two were Simeon Williamson (who gave Chambers the fright of his life in the 100m final), Lisa Dobriskey in the 1500m, Jeanette Kwakye in the 100m, Emma Lyons in the pole vault and finally Greg Rutherford.
The 21-year-old long jumper from Milton Keynes revealed on Saturday his preparation had involved no sleep and visiting his dying grandfather. After a few dodgy jumps and with Chris Tomlinson and Jonathon Moore breathing down his neck, he hit 8.19m, and then made the qualifying A standard of 8.20m bang on the money. Just sensational.
"I've just had the worst week and a half of my life and for this to happen to me is massive," he said. "I was thinking of him (my grandfather) the whole time. I'm going to dash down there now to see him in hospital and show him the medal. That was all for him today.
"And now I'm bound for Beijing. That's the amazing thing. That was the best competition of my life. All that's left now is to bring home a medal."
And with everybody fretting about what's going to happen next week and whether Dwain should go to Beijing or not, I have the answer. Dave Collins, I can answer your prayers, because I'm available.
Yep, I'm available for selection right now. I haven't quite matched all the Olympic qualification criteria, but I've still got three weeks to lose the belly, a couple of weeks annual leave to use up at work, and no drug stories hiding in my closet. So, Dave, what are you waiting for?
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