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How the golden boy can get even better

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Tom Fordyce | 23:08 UK time, Wednesday, 28 July 2010

In a thrilling 100m final in Barcelona's Estadio Olympico on Wednesday night, 20-year-old Christophe Lemaitre breezed clear from the best sprinters on the continent to write his name in the history books.

European champion at just 20 years old, already having dipped under 10 seconds and red-hot favourite for 200m gold on Friday, Lemaitre appears to have it all.

The bad news for his rivals? He should be able to go much, much quicker. As 1998 European 100m champion Darren Campbell explains, Lemaitre - who only took up athletics five years ago - is a still an uncut diamond.

"You're born with speed, but you're not born a perfect sprinter," says Campbell. "Lemaitre, with the raw ability and physical attributes he has, he can improve so much.

"It might sound strange to say it, but from a technique point of view, there's nothing I look at and think, that's really good."

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Highlights of 100m final from Barcelona (UK only)

Even in claiming his first senior title, Lemaitre was slow from his blocks and well down on rivals Francis Obikwelu, Mark Lewis-Francis and Dwain Chambers at 30m.

"Christophe's drive phase is a work in progress," says Campbell, who watched him from heats to final in Barcelona for BBC Radio 5 live. "If you look at Dwain's races, his foot placements over the first 30 metres are always exactly the same. That's why he's so strong in the first part of the race.

"His body position is usually as close to perfect as it can be - perfectly straight, perfectly flat. That gives him maximum strength through his drive phase. If you get your position right and can stay in it, that's the most effective way to run.

"Christophe's is not. He comes upright after about 10-15m, which is far too early. Maurice Greene and Ato Boldon were the ones who changed the thinking with the drive phase - remember how low they used to stay, with their heads down? They changed the way sprinters thought.

"Lemaitre's transition could be a lot smoother. He pops up to upright suddenly, and although it's only a small thing, when you're talking about hundredths of seconds, it makes a difference.

"It affects your rhythm. If you pop up fast, that's when you feel the wind, and you lose speed, because sprinting is all about momentum and rhythm. When you come up slowly, there's not that sudden feeling of wind resistance in your face. And once you're upright, you're pretty much at top speed. It's very, very hard to change gear once you're upright.

"His running style at full speed is another area where he will improve. He doesn't rock and roll through his body, but because his foot placements aren't that consistent, he veers. In the first round he went out to the right hand side of the lane. If you stay straight, you'll go quicker.

"It might be that he has more power in one leg. It's almost like a Formula One car - you have to make sure that the power is evenly dispersed.

"I used to practise starting off both legs so one didn't become stronger than the other. I was even careful about my calf muscles, because your left will get stronger than your right just from using the clutch pedal in your car. That's how fine a line you are looking at.

"Then we come to his arm position and tracking. They're not great - you want to keep an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow, and his arm goes quite straight - but they're not the worst I've seen. They don't go across his body, which is good, because if that happens, your feet strike the ground wider because your arms control what your feet do.

"Finally there's his build. He doesn't even look like a sprinter - he looks like a 400m runner. So straight away there's muscle he can put on.

"I would focus on bulking up last. You don't want to bulk up with technical problems, because all you're doing is teaching those muscles to run in the wrong way. Get the technique right first."

Standing behind his blocks, his name about to be announced to the crowd. Lemaitre looked unfeasibly fresh-faced, down to the fluffy teenage wannabe-moustache on his top lip. Just how fast could the fully matured man go?"

"I think he's capable of low 9.9s. If he can eradicate these small things, why shouldn't he? Beyond a certain point, sprinting is learnt. It's practising and rehearsing and working on the right things in training. He has all the natural materials he needs."

That Mark Lewis-Francis took silver behind Lemaitre was both a shock and, in a funny way, strangely apposite.

If anyone understands youthful promise and the pressure it brings it is MLF, world junior 100m champion at 17, tipped by Maurice Greene to win Olympic gold in 2004, seemingly finished a year ago.

A positive test for cannabis had cost him a European 60m silver; a serious Achilles injury ruled him out of the last Olympics. Even this year he appeared to be nowhere - disqualified for false starts in Hengelo and Ostrava, fifth in the British trials in 10.42 secs. A week ago he didn't even have a berth in the British team for the individual 100m, until a late change of heart by head coach Charles van Commenee at the squad's holding-camp in Portugal.

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Lewis-Francis has a message for his critics after winning silver (UK only)

Few would begrudge him this unexpected silver lining, even fewer that his margin over third place was just one one-thousandth of a second and exactly the same over fourth.
"For all the knocks that I've taken, this is the new beginning," he said afterwards, almost lost for words.

Maybe we should have guessed. His coach Linford Christie knows so much about winning the European 100m title that he as good as owns it. As an athlete he took gold in 1986, 1990 and 1994; he then coached Campbell to his gold in 1998 and silver in 2002. He also knows all about performing in this stadium; it was here in Barcelona that he ran his greatest ever race, powering to the Olympic title.

For Chambers, the oldest man in the final, veteran of three previous European Championships, champion in 2002 before it was stripped from him for doping offences, there was to be no golden farewell.

In his own way, despite that, he achieved a sort of redemption. Battered and bruised by everything he has gone through in his chequered career - most of which was entirely his fault - he appears a changed athlete, wearing the grizzled, liberated look of a man who has come through the worst and is happy to be out the other side.

All week he has been full of smiles and shrugs, of praise for his young French rival. The first thing he did after crossing the line was trot over to Lemaitre and offer him his hand.

"I'm just glad to be part of it," he said afterwards. "You can't win them all. Of course I mind, but I'm just grateful for the opportunity to get myself here."

The mantle of Europe's top sprinter, the one he held eight years ago and then threw away, has been passed to a new man.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I stand corrected. I went for Chambers due to experience but Lemaitre showed raw talent can beat a seasoned pro on the day.

    It's interesting that Campbell says that Chambers' technique is close to bang on, it suggest that Chambers is not going to get any quicker than he currently is, that he has maximised his talent.

    It shows how small the margins that we are talking about that Campbell thinks that even with all the changes he mentions he thinks that will only shave one tenth of a second off Lemaitre's time. I'd like to think that he's capable of mid 9.8s after bulking up and improving his technique - I don't think he's ever going to be in the Bolt/Gay/Powell league, but then no-one else ever has been - and what do I know, I picked Chambers to win!

    Great article again Tom.

  • Comment number 2.

    I was thinking the same about the victor! His technique is terrible!

    His time was average nowadays, but what makes him exciting was that he is doing it all wrong and could exponentially improve.

    Although Bolt is not classical, he gets a lot of things 'right'... I think this kid can run 9.8s and maybe even challenge the trio at the top if he puts the work in the off season.

  • Comment number 3.

    I wouldn't write Chambers off just yet, don't forget that less than a year ago, he was the ONLY European representative in the World Championship final where Usain Bolt ran 9.58 seconds.

    I don't know what happened today, it is the first time in recent years where it looked like the pressure got to him. I have never really seen Chambers buckle under pressure and today that is what happened.

    Maybe all the high and mighty arrogant people actually got to him today and he buckled, realising that he could never please some people, that's not an excuse just a fact. At the end of the day the buck stops with him and for whatever reason he bottled it today for the first time I can ever remember watching him run.

    However I just want to say that I hate the Steve Crams and Denise Lewis's of this world that somehow think they have never made a mistake and are holier than thou, their self-delusion makes me want to vomit.

    Before the race John Inverdale had to say that Dwain Chambers has split the country 50-50 and every single comment had to go on about his "second chance" as if he is some sort of criminal, he didn't exactly murder or rape someone as some of the commentators would have us believe. We do really need to put it in persepctive, Shane Warne the Australian cricket legend tested positive for banned substances but is still widely regarded as a hero, so is it just 100m runners in atheletics that get tarnished like criminals then? I just don't get who makes the rules and why.

    PS What John Inverdale failed to mention is that the 50% that support Chambers support him much more than they support the BBC "special chosen ones" like Paula Radcliffe and Jenny Meadows etc. Supporting Chambers is like a vote against anti-establishment.

    The amount of genuine heartfelt support crammed into that 50% is probably more than 100% of support that Radcliffe gets.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    "European champion at just 20 years old, already having dipped under 20 seconds"

    Is it a typo? He has already dipped under 10 seconds! :)

  • Comment number 6.

    #5, if you read on, it says dipped under 20 seconds for the 200m. But I can see what you mean. Took me a couple of times to read it.

    Great blogs Tom. Refreshing to see a talented writer reporting the facts from a major championships, instead of McNulty who seemed to obsess with (non)dramas and his own opinions from the World Cup in South Africa.

    My faith in BBC Sport blogs is restored!

    Thanks

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 Blogcabin

    Nevertheless, it is a typo, as Lemaitre's record for the 200m is 20.16.

    Yes, very good blog and enjoyed Campbell's analysis.

    The "force majeure" is a bit dodgy though Tom, surely you can find something better than a contractual get-out clause describing war, famine, flooding, insurrection and the like...

  • Comment number 8.

    Persoanlly what I liked was to see a sprinter who looked like an athlete and not a muscle bound machine. Even now in this blog comments are being made about him 'muscling up'.

    Sure it would be wise to change his technique and style but he doesn't look to me like a guy who could stand too much muscle on him so let him develop without the beefing up and see what happens.

    I watched last night and chambers looked so big on the head on I actually wondered if he was to beefy and it was a hinderance not a help.

  • Comment number 9.

    sorry no3 not a vote for antiestablishment if you support chambers you support drug taking. so i for one was one very happy bunny that he lost, but to be fair to him very pleasant in defeat (not like he used to be ) pr people at work here.as regards to cricket steriods/etc dont exactly make you bowl or bat better. agree with no8 nice to see someone who isnt just a bunch of muscles.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am within that so called 50% of people that support Chambers. What annoys me most though is the same people who always go on about Chambers having to look for redemption and is lucky to have a second chance continue to reminisce about Linford Christie and even give him a platform to speak. I thought he failed drugs tests on more than 1 occassion? What makes it worse is that he doesn't admit to it.

  • Comment number 11.

    I was pleased to see Lemeitre win - only because it was one in the eye for the non-bulked up sprinters. I remember the days when sprinters were graceful and I just hate to see the big bags of muscles that run now (though it must be said that Bolt is not particularly muscley but his legs are so long it gives him a natural advantage). I appreciate that sprint times are falling all the time and it's just personal taste, but as when Carl Lewis came on to the scene, he was slender by comparison. I just prefer the shape I guess.

  • Comment number 12.

    The morning after the event rant (apologies in advance):

    Well done to Darren and Tom (in particular) for attempting to make the 100m race sound more interesting than it actually was. We must put things in perspective; this race was anything but ripsnortering!! It must rank as one of the slowest finals of all time and against the world elite these guys would have had to contend with the dust left behind the likes of Bolt, Gay, Powell, Blake to name a few and let’s not forget these guys are hardly spring chickens themselves.

    Shame the race didn't match the BBC's risible attempts to add to the sense of drama, but well called by Michael Johnson, though what a race it could have been had the “favourites” been lined up next to one another!

    That said, congrats to Lemaitre and Lewis-Francis (in particular), good to see Dwain being gracious in defeat. The 100m futures look promising, but on this evidence it’s hardly European!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree with post #3. I listened to the race on R5 with both Steve Backley & Alison Curbishly both voicing, on air, their relief at Chambers not winning. I was sick inside to hear this! Will this guy EVER be allowed to just run as a reformed, honest, humble man? Sport is not different from life - EVERYONE deserves a second chance. The way sections of the BBC 'pundit' media commentate, you'd think Chambers had committed murder. Backley & Curbishley et al talk about 'staining the ethics of the sport' etc etc but cheating is cheating in any form - how about banning ball tamperers in Cricket for life, or footballers who dive? A Chambers win would've been SO good for the sport and for the kids so he could say, yeah, I did wrong, but you don't need to cheat to win and I've just proved it.

    As for Backley, Cram and the like, they really should take a long hard look at themselves and try and put everything into perspective. The guy's paid his dues, leave him alone.

    Well done Dwain for ignoring all the stick and running with honesty and dignity!

  • Comment number 14.

    The BBC hype over Christophe Lemaitre is getting a bit ridiculous now. You're even making up personal bests for him. Lemaitre has not run under 20 seconds for the 200, a fact that would have been quick to check. But the facts obviously don't suit the story you've constructed for the French guy.

    Lemaitre is obviously talented, but there was nothing particularly convincing about his victory or time last night. He was very lucky that others underperformed more than he did. At the moment I can't see Lemaitre doing better than about 7th or 8th in global finals. Campbell even says that with improvements Lemaitre will 'only' run low 9.9s. That is clearly not good enough to challenge the Jamaicans and Americans.

    There is another young man of Christophe's age who has just run 19.7 for the 200m, who is not getting anywhere near the same hype or attention as the Frenchman. It's a shame if this is because the media see it as 'just another Jamaican running fast'.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why should Cram and Backley take a long hard look at themselves? they trained fairly and stuck by the rules and never tarnished the reputation of their sport. I think the problem is that other countries dont take the same line on these offences such as lifetime olympic bans.

    How would you feel if you were a 100m silver medalist now turned gold medalist by default never knowing whether you have really earned that medal or not as you were unsure whether the guy who beat would have been faster without drugs?

    You say everyone deserves a second chance and at some things they do. but this is sport, why should he have a second chance after risking such a privelidge. He has been given a natural gift and is in a postion to do something that he loves for a living, If i do something massively wrong at work that tarnished the name of my entire profession i would be sacked and probably never hired to do that again.

    Why the presenters still bleat on about this when they arent gonna change anything im not sure but lets not confuse ourselves that Dwain Chambers has been hard done to, hes very lucky to still be in the sport.

  • Comment number 16.

    Having a been a district champion at middle distance and now that I am retired from all that nerves on comp day and gone into cycling to save my battered knees, if we believe the pundits apparently gone from one drug "infested" sport to another. My question is that I know that David Millar of Scotland who rides for Garmin Transitions is going to Dehli for the CG why is it that I watched the commentary and heard that Dwain is precluded from selection for the CG?

    Dwain epitomises a working class lad trying to escape his roots by taking up a sport (ditto many Kenyans, American Football Players of mainly ethnic origin, and spanish cyclists) he followed a path which was wrong and now he is the "Anti-Paula" for many Brits. Paula grew up in a secure middle class environment and due to her running club being small we are led to believe if you check her background "forced" to run with the male club runners due to a lack of female members, hence the male training regime at an early age.

    I really feel that as a Scot that if we should be giving David Millar a berth at the CG then England should be giving Dwain a slot. Both lads know the consequences and David is now seen as a saviour of cycling so hope the press back the calls to give him a CG place.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hello gang - first up, that "under 20 seconds" was meant to read "under 10 seconds" - tired finger typo there. Apologies. Lemaitre's good over 200m but I was talking about his 100m.

    Dwain seems to be splitting opinion again. Had an interesting chat with Darren C about him last night - I'll post a story shortly. As a taster, here's this: "This last year he has acted in the right way. He’s come full circle, and he seems to really enjoy and appreciate running again. I would urge people – don’t hate him..."

    Everyone think Lemaitre is nailed on for 200m gold?

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm absolutely no defender of DC for his drug use, but I thought he handled his post-race interview with a good deal more grace than many of these athletes seem capable of when they've been defeated.

  • Comment number 19.

    #3 & #13, Dwain will split opinion for the rest of his career and that just needs to be accepted. I think he has accepted this and recognises that it is simply a product of some terrible decisions he made. Some of his interviews also suggests that the way he handled the aftermatch could have been a great deal better.

    Personally I agree that people deserve a second chance, but a poster above comes up with a good example of how this would often work in real life. I work with many convicted criminals and assist them in their rehabilitation. I couldn't agree more that they deserve a second chance. But if I am working with someone who has committed fraud then the fact is that their second chance would not involve working with money. When we make bad choices, we have to accept that some consequences remain with us for the rest of our lives, even after the formal punishment is over.

    I don't have any issue with Dwain competing, though I would never call myself a fan. By the same token, I also don't have any problem with those who object strongly to his presence in competitions and am not that surprised that there are so many ex-pros among them. Others have suffered as a result of his offences, as well as the Sport itself.

  • Comment number 20.

    More interested in how Mark Lewis Francis can rebuild his career to be honest. Can we have an article about that please or are we now the FBC?

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Il Capitano - when was Christie seen as a gold standard? And Ohuruogu never took drugs according to investigations by those most knowledgeable of the circumstances (in other words, not you).

  • Comment number 23.

    I am not sure I fit with either 50% on the DC issue. To me he cheated and got caught, served his sentence and is now back representing GB in anything except the Olympics. Those were the rules before and after he transgressed and so long as he and everyone else accepts that then I will support him when he wears the vest.

    When some say that he should be allowed back into Olympic reckoning then I don't support that as he knew what the rules were when he chose to do what he admits to having done, so that has to be it.

    And I have to say I have some sympathy with comment #21.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have no time for Drug cheats, whatever your motivation for doing so.Everyone deserves a second chance dont they?

    Muscle bound? look at bolt (or Gay, powell), they are the perfect running machines and whatever muscle mass they have, its perfect - therefore how can you knock it? there wont be someone like Bolt for many ,many years.

    I am much more interested in next friday. Bolt, Gay, Powell. can anyone catch Bolt and can Bolt go even faster? thats a story worth writing about.

  • Comment number 25.

    i'm not sure it's helpful to re-open the Dwain Chambers debate in great detail, but it always irks/amuses/confuses me that most people I hear talk about it seem to miss (what I see as) the main point: nobody knows (Chambers, the drug suppliers, the testers, the pharmaceutical companies) the long term effect of steroid abuse. Did those times Chambers used banned substances give him an extra 10kg that has lasted, added it to his frame forever, that allow him to put extra force down over an athlete that has been clean for his/her whole career? Is his body still 'using' some of the effects in training and competition? Let's not make the mistake of saying "it's now the day after his ban has finished, he is now the same sprinter he was before he started doping".

    Back to the main topic, I agree that it's refreshing to see a sprinter with raw talent, similar to how refreshing it was to see Bolt burst on to the scene with a body type that seemed to cry out "this boy will never succeed at 100m". But I can easily see him fall into the trap hinted at in the blog that he NEEDS to fill out to be any good, and lose the natural pace he has. If anything, the last few years have proved that there isn't an ideal shape, no guarantee of sprinting success.

  • Comment number 26.

    Honestly couldn't care less that he used to take drugs. Who cares. No other country in the world does. If he can run quick get him in the team. Wish he had won as he was representing the UK. Anyway what about Christine Ohuruogu getting her ban overturned I know she only missed tests but stll.... Plus on a separate note i hate when the beeb has its 'special chosen ones' as well.

  • Comment number 27.

    I would like to warn those who say that Lemaitre should bulk up. No he shouldn't. Remember Matt Shirvington ? He ran 10"03 in 1998 just before is 20th birthday with a wind of -0.1m/s. (he might have run under 10" if he had the same wind at +1.3 m.s-1).
    When Shirvington began to bulk up and to add more muscles he kept getting injured. It's hard to believe but he didn't improve his PB once in 10 years between 1998 and 2008.
    Lemaitre and his coach are doing things well right now! His training is based on maximal strenght, not to add muscle mass.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why do the Chambers apologists keep coming up with the ridiculous line 'it's not as if he committed murder' all the time? What's that got to do with anything. Dwain should be able to get on with the rest of his life just not as an athlete. The crowds have been disappointing in Barcelona & I am sure part of that is down to the damage done by drug takers to the sport. All drug cheats should be banned for life.

    On to Lemaitre, his technique may not look ideal but didn't people say the same about Michael Johnson. He has some way to go before he can compete with the worlds best but he does have a lot of potential - I think 200m may prove to be his best event.

  • Comment number 29.

    The Dwain/drug thing is hard to call, but I think the bottom line should be that he has served his sentence and according to the laws of the sport he is allowed to race. Whether he should be or not is another matter entirely. Once we're in a championship, everyone is there on their own merits and should be supported accordingly.

    The whole Ohuruogu thing isn't even worth bothering answering. Anyone still going on about her being a drug cheat isn't worth the effort.

  • Comment number 30.

    As much as it's interesting for a white man to win a so called major 100m sprint final, the fact is he's simply not good enough or will improve enough to win a medal at the Olympics or World Championships. He's European level at best, and that tells you how bad 100m sprinting in Europe has become.

  • Comment number 31.

    The evolution of the 100m times in the last 5 years is down to one thing and one thing only.

  • Comment number 32.

    I wonder how fast a man could run if drug taking was legal. Running 100m in 8 seconds and then fighting the mascot because they're so pumped up on steroids... Now that's entertainment

  • Comment number 33.

    Let's put European sprinting into perspective Lemaitre would barely make it into a world semi-final and if countries were allowed to enter as many athletes as they liked he would make the last 32. Good luck to him but no chance EVER of a medal at the Worlds or Olympics, in fact little chance of making a final. He may be young but he will not improve enough to make the big time.

  • Comment number 34.

    The strange thing about Dwain is that he has seemingly suffered more due to his honesty in admitting the offence

    The great majority of caught athletes who blame any kind of rubbish for their tests seem to get an easier ride, presumably as there is still that very small chance that they are telling the truth.

    As for last night, despite the excitement generated by the BBC, it had all the quality of a B' final at a European meet & the hype around Lemaitre is a bit over the top.

  • Comment number 35.

    I would like to warn those who say that Lemaitre should bulk up. No he shouldn't. Remember Matt Shirvington ? He ran 10"03 in 1998 just before is 20th birthday with a wind of -0.1m/s. (he might have run under 10" if he had the same wind at +1.3 m.s-1).
    When Shirvington began to bulk up and to add more muscles he kept getting injured. It's hard to believe but he didn't improve his PB once in 10 years between 1998 and 2008.
    Lemaitre and his coach are doing things well right now! His training is based on maximal strenght, not to add muscle mass.
    -----------

    Indeed he might cause himself problems by bulking up if his body can't handle it. But that is the choice isn't it? Does he stay as he is in the knowledge that he will be unlikely to ever really challenge Bolt/Powell in teh big events, or bulk up in the hopes of improving. In short is he happy with 5th place in a final or is he prepare to risk finishing 8th for the chance to finish 1st. Most athletes would pick the latter.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why do the Chambers apologists keep coming up with the ridiculous line 'it's not as if he committed murder' all the time? What's that got to do with anything. Dwain should be able to get on with the rest of his life just not as an athlete. The crowds have been disappointing in Barcelona & I am sure part of that is down to the damage done by drug takers to the sport. All drug cheats should be banned for life.
    -----------

    Why do the Anti-Chamber brigade keep coming up with the ridiculous line 'Dwain should be able to get on with the rest of his life just not as an athlete' all the time? What's that got to do with anything.




    Perhaps they should be banned for life, but Dwain served the punishment as it stood at the time, you can not retroactively change those punishments. The very fact that it would be a life ban rather than 2 years might change whether people do it or not in the first place.

  • Comment number 37.

    As promised, here's the link to the piece with Darren Campbell on why he's forgiven Dwain - makes interesting reading: https://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/athletics/8867401.stm

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    Fair play, our sprinters are so far behind the Yanks and the Yardie's (sp?) that they may as well not turn up for anything other than British only comps. They can't even beat a skinny French bloke with a crap technique for gawds sakes.

  • Comment number 40.

    Funny thing was that I thought Lemaitre looked by far the most nervous and uneasy at the start. I wonder if he'd had Dwain and MLF either side it could've been different?

    Either way, he balled his courage up and was a worthy winner. Future looks bright for him.

    Tremendous for MLF to get this silver after all his problems, and I'm fully behind Chambers as well; as someone said, every race is a 'gift' to him now and he seems to fully appreciate that. The glee in some quarters over his failure, by a thousandth or so, to get any medal is as predictable as it is tiresome.

  • Comment number 41.

    #38 - I completely dis-agree. If chambers had won last night it would've shown everyone that you CAN win without cheating - and what better advocate of 'racing clean' that a reformed cheat himself? Someone who can stand up and say to the world 'look what I've done clean - yuo don't need drugs'.

    I cannot understand for a second how Chambers winning last night would've given encouragement to prospective cheats when everyone knows what he was and what he is now.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good to see that you can be white, not bulging with muscles signifying anabolics and yet run incredibly fast.

    As the guy was French, perhaps Arsene Wenger will take note also that you don't need to be a black African to be fast?

  • Comment number 44.

    I notice that the most recent BBC report of the action in Barcelona makes reference to "Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the 2004 Olympic champion from Russia"

    I think I could have guessed his nationality.

  • Comment number 45.


    @thewoolleyexpress
    "i'm not sure it's helpful to re-open the Dwain Chambers debate in great detail, but it always irks/amuses/confuses me that most people I hear talk about it seem to miss (what I see as) the main point: nobody knows (Chambers, the drug suppliers, the testers, the pharmaceutical companies) the long term effect of steroid abuse. Did those times Chambers used banned substances give him an extra 10kg that has lasted, added it to his frame forever, that allow him to put extra force down over an athlete that has been clean for his/her whole career? Is his body still 'using' some of the effects in training and competition? Let's not make the mistake of saying "it's now the day after his ban has finished, he is now the same sprinter he was before he started doping".
    __ ___ _ ____ __ __ _ _ __ _ __ _ _ _ _ ____ _____
    Chambers did took drugs (since he admitted it), and those drugs probably helped him to improve his times, but let's not forget that he was the European Junior record holder in the 100m in 1997 in 10"05 and ran 9"97 at 21.

    The times that his doing now with the "lasting effects of drug usage " are slower than what he used to do in his late teens/early twenties when he was "presumably" clean.
    So we can't say for sure that he's still benefiting from those drugs.

  • Comment number 46.

    Number 43 - Your comment doesn't make any sense? Why would you bring Arsene Wenger and a fabricated opinion of his into the equation? I think you'll find that the quickest player in terms of sprinting Wenger has bought was Marc Overmars, a white, Dutch, midfielder!

    The amount of improvement this young French lad can make is mind blowing. In a sport where hundredths of a second win medals, he is definitely one to keep an eye on.

  • Comment number 47.

    The IAAF rules may state that DC has paid his dues, but in the eyes of those who love athletics, and who have devoted their lives to athletics, DC and anyone else who does drugs is banned for life. Thousand thanks to all the guys at the BBC. They are right to remind anyone who takes drugs at every opportunity how disgusted we all are. IAAF just does not get it do they? Ban the DCs of this world for life so we don't have to see the compete ever!.

  • Comment number 48.

    Dont forget that MLF is an Olympic champion from Athens in the relay, so its great to finally see him winning medals in the 100m individual event. Chambers also made the Sydney Olympic final in 2000. Remember in 2002 (Manchester) when Chambers and Lewis-Francis both pulled up injured? Amazing that theyre still competing at an elite level.

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't get Campbell's assessment that he can go 'low 9.9s' at all. Did he only improve his 100 time by 6 or 7 hundredths of a second after he was 20 years 2 months? As for the rest criticisng LeMaitre, how fast were Gay and Powell at his age? I'll bet even Bolt was no better than a tenth quicker at the same age (he was nearly 2 years older when he ran 9.71). It's ridiculous to make direct compareisons between these finished articles and a scrawny kid coming through. Give him a break, for Christ's sake.....

  • Comment number 50.

    I've always been a Chambers fan and i'm just sorry he didn't win. Hopefully some of the promoters next season will give him a break like they do with other ex cheats and let him run. STOP the hypocrisy!!

    Lemaitre looks good and in a few years time I can definitely see him running much quicker.

    Good luck to both of them for the future

  • Comment number 51.

    @stoptalkinggarbage

    It takes years to knock hundreths of seconds of your time, its not as easy as you make it seem if you think Lemaitre is going to break the world record then your delusional lol.


    And Gay and Bolt weren't as fast as Mark Lewis Francis and others as teens but they developed rapidly during their 20's, lets not forget that Bolt is only 24, he was running 9.6 at the age of 22. Do you think Lemaitre is going to be running 9.6 in 2 year?

  • Comment number 52.

    Just a quick comment about #25, having studied exercise physiology I know that everything Dwain Chambers gained from performance enhancing drugs back in the day would definatly have been lost by now. Also the loss of 2 years of athletics competition and associated loss of motivation etc would have definatly more than compensated from any gain he got from the drugs.

    I for one am definatly supporting Dwain Chambers now, though I wouldnt have said the same years ago when I first found out he cheated. People say he deserves a second chance - I believe he deserves a chance to prove what he can do now without performance enhancing drugs.

    I believe it takes A LOT more courage to do wrong like he has done and come back infront of all his critics than it does to just go out and run without the tarnish of having failed a drugs test. What the sport and this country needs is people with that kind of courage. Yes he has done wrong, but theres no point disputing that - but of all the people that have failed drugs tests, I'm sure he has gone a lot further than most at righting his wrongs.

    People forget that a huge amount of people in all professional sports fail drugs tests without being named 'cheats'. There are a lot of high-profile household names in many sports that have failed drugs tests and yet many people don't know it... just because they arent in athletics and haven't been hung out to dry infront of the public.

  • Comment number 53.

    at Heru

    "It takes years to knock hundreths of seconds of your time" and next line "but they developed rapidly during their 20's,".

    no contradiction there, then.

  • Comment number 54.

    @stoptalkinggarbage


    I think you would agree that Usain Bolt is a freak of nature, he is a one off example as is most probably Tyson Gay, most sprinters don't develop like they do just ask Mark Lewis Francis.

  • Comment number 55.

    “I think you would agree that Usain Bolt is a freak of nature, he is a one off example as is most probably Tyson Gay”
    ----------------------------------

    Does that make a ‘two-off’ example then? I suppose Powell makes a ‘three-off’ example…..

    LeMaitre ran 9.98 a month past his 20th. He’s the 2nd youngest man ever to break 10, but you think for reasons best known to yourself that it’ll take him a career to shave off hundredths when the above have took off a third of a second or better in 2-3 years. You have no basis for this assumption, so perhaps you just don’t want him to succeed? I’d agree Bolt is something extra special, but most sprinters as young and green as LeMaitre would improve by at least another 2 or 3 tenths over the course of a career, not a few hundredths.

    I don’t recall saying he would challenge the WR, I simply pointed out that comparing an emerging talent to athletes already in their prime was nonsense – it’s akin to writing off a first year footballer because he’s not as good as David Villa. I’ve since found out that Bolt was above 10 at the same age – clearly dismissing him at that time as you dismiss Lemaitre now would have made you look a bit silly in retrospect.

 

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