Should Dwain Chambers Be Allowed to Compete at Beijing 2008?
In 2003 Dwain Chambers tested positive for anabolic steroids and was banned for two years. Five years on the ban still haunts him, and is threatening to destroy his dreams of competing at the Olympics.
He was stripped of all his medals won since 2002, including the whole Great Britain relay team having their medals stripped as Chambers was in their team.
He was banned for life from the Olympics and had to put up with the tag of the disgraced sportsman as his face appeared all over the back pages.
But should he be forgiven? Should he be allowed to compete at the Olympics?
Well, he was handed a lifetime Olympic ban, so why has the case gone as far as the High Court? Well, I think people have seen that he is truly sorry, and that he has worked extremely hard to overcome adversity and to hit the back pages for all the right reasons—becoming the best 100m runner Great Britain have.
Murderers are let out of prison after less than half their sentence for "good behavior" because they have changed. Dwain Chambers took drugs and so can never be forgiven and the ban should be upheld. When you look at it that way it doesn't seem too fair.
The Olympic committee is hard on drug-use so others are discouraged to try it. Chambers was seen as a bad example. However, I think he is a great example for the way he has come back from it.
Sure, the drug use was a mistake and I'm not trying to promote it, but it takes a strong person to, against all the odds, return and excel in whatever you do, when everyone seems to be against you.
However, if you flip the coin over and look at the other side, imagine if you are the young athlete who has worked for years to get where he is, set for a trip to the Olympics, and have never gone near drugs in your life.
You've gotten to where you are through grit, hard work, and determination, and someone who has been banned from the Olympics for life because he cheated by using drugs suddenly is allowed back in and you miss out.
That certainly does not seem fair either.
So what should be decided? Should Chambers be allowed to go to the Olympics or not?
I myself am still undecided on this. He is our best 100m runner, I am in no doubt about that, and he appears to be on the straight and narrow and perhaps deserves a second chance. He has served his sentence with his two-year ban; perhaps they should start with a clean slate.
But at the same time, he was given a life ban from the Olympics, and they have always been tough on drug users, so why should Chambers be different to any other drug using athlete, just because he is performing well at the moment?
What does everyone else think? Should he stay or should he go?
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