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Why Chambers must follow the Millar manual

British athletics
by Matt Slater (U1647490) 18 March 2008
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Dwain Chambers

British cycling star David Millar was in a pretty dark place in the summer of 2004.

Instead of competing for his nation at the Olympics in Athens, Millar was hiding out, depressed, disgraced and drunk.

Kicked out of his sport for two years for using performance-enhancing drugs, few expected the talented but sensitive Scot to ever return.

He said he had fallen out of love with cycling. The feeling seemed mutual.

Fast forward almost four years and Millar is back, older, wiser and almost as quick.

He is also the first Brit to be appointed to the World Anti-Doping Agencyís Athlete Committee - an appointment sponsored by the British anti-doping agency UK Sport and backed by the International Cycling Union.

Itís Millar time all over again and his comeback has been a textbook case of how to rehabilitate a battered reputation: say sorry (a lot), tell the truth (leaving nothing out), serve your time (without complaint), start competing again (this time clean) and throw yourself into good works (especially preaching the anti-doping message).

This is a textbook that Dwain Chambers would be well advised to borrow, learn by heart and put in practice.

Iíll try not to add too much to the European Unionís ďopinion on Dwain ChambersĒ mountain Ė it must be visible from space by now Ė so Iíll be brief.

Dwain, waving a ďjust say noĒ T-shirt about and telling everybody how your steroid shame ruined your life just isnít going to cut it with those nasty spoil-sports who run international athletics. It also isnít going to change any minds at the British Olympic Association.

These guys want genuine, bawl-your-eyes-out contrition, a list of names and the inside scoop on when best to send the testers around (as you well know, nobody really fails a normal drugs test these days - the bad guys are either trapped in a lie by the Feds or shopped by a jealous rival).

To be honest, even all of that might not be enough to satisfy everybody. But it canít hurt and if youíre really serious about helping to clean up the sport that you dirtied youíll give it a go.

So pick up the phone, Dwain, and give UK Sportís anti-doping department a call.

It worked for Millar (professionally and personally) and it might even tempt those promoters to give you a lane or two this summer. They must be desperate to get European athletics' most box office-friendly name in their programmes again, they just need an excuse.

Latest 10 comments

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posted Mar 19, 2008

Appreciate your sarcasm Porter Rockwell... Ironically, you actually help to make my point.
I don't recall these moral arbiters with a conscience putting forth about Hingis,Dallaglio, Warne, nor Bond. I await your edification.
Warne is an interesting case... His excuse upon failing his dope test, was he had taken a medication,diurectics that his mother had given him to assist weight loss after a long layoff due to injury.
Yeah, right! And guess what? His career hardly missed a beat. He was welcomed into the county game in this country, and has now assumed the mantle of the nation's favourite Aussie.
A deathly hush from our friends burdened with conscience..

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posted Mar 19, 2008

Hope you do not mind my correction, Iflmay,
Anabolic steroids do not confer any permanent long term physical advantage to the user.
They are merely an exogenous source of the male hormone, testosterone, which helps to build and maintain muscle.
Once the athlete ceases usage, the excess muscle soon atrophies and any performance advantages gained, subsequently lost.
No physical activity, no matter how strenous
will help retain that edge confered by the analobics.

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posted Mar 19, 2008

The problem of people enhancing their performance are evident in so many aspects of life now, yet it seems atheletes are looked at as being morally bancrupt. I imagine many artists have used drugs to enhance their performance, buisness people cook books, people get plastic surgery and Viagra is very popular.
If we want drugs to leave sports we would need to stop idolizing atheletes, let professional sports take a dive and just get out and do our own thing.

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comment by pvandck (U1688237)

posted Mar 19, 2008

I hope DC can make a case against the promoters of the European athletics meetings for discrimination and restraint of trade. Athletics is professional these days, like it or not, and to deny DC the opportunity to run amounts to a deliberate restraint. The claim that the meetings are by invitation only is to suggest that athletics is in fact a private club and that merit has no bearing on anything - which is hardly professional. There's nothing like a good lawsuit to focus the attention of money grubbing athletics promoters. The athletics promoters accepted known drug users at their meetings for as long as they thought it was in their financial interest. Now they are so low that they won't accept a repentant and reformed drug user. There's no moral aspect on their part. It's only ever been about what they perceive to be their financial interest, which is why they should be challenged.
DC has served his sentence and as far as I can see is doing the right thing. He hasn't blamed anyone else and is not advocating anyone make the same mistakes as he did - in fact, to the contrary.
If anyone is damaging the sport of athletics it's the high and mighty, self-righteous hypocrites, and hangers and floggers like UKA and the obnoxious Cram who are doing the real damage with their hateful, fundamentalist ranting. Humility is the key and in the evangelical fundamentalists (UKA, Steve Cram, Lord Coe and Colin Berkeley Moynihan, 4th Baron Moynihan, it is conspicuous by its complete absence. The message they send out is one of fascistic intolerance, unforgiveness, unremitting humiliation, vindictiveness and a total lack of understanding of human behaviour.
Why Cram hasn't been sacked from the BBC for abusing his commentary position as a platform for spouting personal propaganda is a complete mystery.
I don't like the idea of drug taking athletes any more than anyone else. But Chambers has served his sentence according to the law. He is allowed, according to natural justice and common decency, a chance to rehabilitate himself. If the rules had been different and the ban had been for life then it's a slightly different matter. But as it stands Chambers is about the only person in this fiasco who is behaving with any integrity and professionalism. I hope he contests his Olympic ban and wins. And I sincerely hope he takes the athletics promoters to the cleaners.

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comment by Tatruth (U2285993)

posted Mar 19, 2008

Thanks Tony. Yeah I think I did get a little confused with your last post, thanks for the clarifications. Brilliant to read such well written and enlightening posts. A real change from the football boards!

I'd also be surprised if Landis wasn't up to something, though can't believe he was taking testosterone/steroids for a quick response. It never added up. Possible it had been masked but I don't really believe that either. I know Boardman goes on about his low testosterone levels and that hindered his daily recovery, but one course of steroids on the day/day before is not going to help recuperate the body. No one seems to comment anymore that the night before Landis shockingly destroyed the field, Eddie Mercx wagered big on Landis to win the tour. Wonder what he knew? All this is speculation, but I firmly believe the scrutiny on cycling brings out more truth than the murkier world of other sports.

Clearly the use of EPO and anabolic steroids give transitory advanatges to cyclists. However although I recognise muscle bulk gained during the use of anabolic steroids soon atrophies, the speed with which anyone can increase their muscle bulk can be a serious advantage in their career. Go to any serious gym in the country and note the incredible muscle gains that individuals get using anabolic steroids. They quickly reach a level that can be maintained which others would take years using clean methods - especially when factoring in the pyschological boost it brings to a performer whose risk of injury & recovery time are greatly reduced.

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posted Mar 20, 2008

No probs Tatruth, yes I should probably have made it clearer that AAS do word VERY effectively for bulking up, but not so well at making you a better sprinter. Sorry for that.
In otherwords steroids are good for bodybuilders, but not so good for athletes only wanting to run FASTER (though they should still help), as more muscle does not necessarily mean more speed. Also and importantly if you do not have the genetics to run fast you can forget ever running fast - muscular or not it just won't happen.

Landis was probably using testosterone throughout the TDF as good benefits can be had without getting caught by going above the 4/1 test/epitest ratio.
He hit the wall or "bonked" the day before when he lost so much time. It happened to Armstrong too quite badly - but he recovered.

It is apparently harder to dope with testosterone this year in cycling since the anti-doping passport for cyclists came into effect. Their natural values are taken and recorded at the start of the year and if values change they would be caught or at least be under of suspicion of doping. The passports will not stop doping however, but they will probably reduce the quantities of drugs taken. It remains to be seen if the idea is just a big waste of money and just causes more problems. The 50% haematocrit limit in cycling did not stop doping as it was intended to do, but it did unfortunately create a more complex and dangerous way of doping as riders underwent blood transfusions...

When gene doping hits the scene things will change, and I don't even want to think about it yet!


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posted Mar 20, 2008

I ran for the county back in the day when lots of people actually went running regulalry. The winners and best performers were tested from age 16.
Every fan has their own point at which they realise that many 'top sportsmen' cheat. My point of dismay was reeached when I read a couple of years back that Lasse Viren claimed he cheated because many others were. Only now can I enjoy the sport . By running at my level and taking it from there.

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posted Mar 20, 2008

Was testing for the 50% the only mechanism for prooving EPO use? or did they test for the carrying mechanism of the injecton ie the man made protien substance.

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posted Mar 20, 2008

"chriscanoes", the 50% was just as a limit for haematocrit. It did not do anything to prove that the athlete took EPO (as some guys are naturally above 50%) just a sane limit for most, it would not stop EPO use either but it tried to kerb it to some degree.
The reason it came into practise at all was there was no test for EPO so this was all that could be done back then (there is a test now though it is still somewhat slightly controversial).

Dynepo works identically to EPO but still cannot be tested for. EPO use is still undetectable though if the athlete stops taking it 7 or more days before a drug test. Virtually all of the benefits of the drug are there for more than 7 days, making it foolproof to use for competition unless the athlete gets out of competition tested.

In cycling blood transfusions are only used to get the haematocrit level up quickly just before the race, and then down again quickly to sub 50% before getting tested if all goes to plan.
In other sports there is no worry about getting caught above 50% as it is not tested for. It is VERY quick, dead easy and dead cheap to test for haematocrit but it still just isn't tested for.

It can be a tough life as an athlete and it is a pity when measures are introduced to try to prevent doping (or at least make it look that way on the outside) just end up making it more dangerous instead of stopping it like in cycling.

WADA could EASILY introduce the 50% rule, or it could go further and even introduce complex athlete passports but it could easily just make things worse and cost too much money. Its may be a shame that doping will not slow down any time soon but we will have to just accept thats the way it is in all sports.


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posted Apr 8, 2008

Let them be sponsored by drug companies it would be much more honest.
Anyone who thinks that there are clean athletes at the top is seriously misguided as a lot of the guys would not be out of place in the heavyweight boxing ring. Just look at the physique line up in the 70's compared to now.
The problem in my opinion is that the athletics bodies, testers and media are always miles behnd the real innovators i.e. the chemists. If you ever take the time to read bodybuilding magazines (eg muscular development) you will see that they are light years ahead in this sport and most of the drugs that raise teir heads have been knocking around bodybuilding for a few years.
By the way steriods do not have to be testosterone related they can also affect GH, cortisol blockers etc etc.

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