British sprinter Dwain Chambers, is fast, but not fast enough to outrun his past. Then again, his past was on steroids.
And the release of his autobiography, Race Against Me: My Story, isn’t helping things much.
Released last month, the book details his use of performance-enhancing drugs before being caught and receiving a two-year ban from competition.
In a scene from his book reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – minus the humour, intoxication and flamboyant imagery – Chambers describes going through security at a Miami airport with a suitcase full of potentially illegal performance enhancers.
“There were enough drugs in there to kill an elephant and I didn’t have a clue whether they were legal or not,” Chambers writes. “I had tubes of stuff that were known only to me as ‘The Clear’ and ‘The Cream,’ along with a few bottles of EPO and HGH, which were in ice packs as they needed to be kept cool.”
In his first major competition since regaining his eligibility, Chambers won gold in the 60-metre sprint in Turin, Italy, on Sunday.
However, with no further convictions, the International Association of Athletics Federations is considering issuing another ban against Chambers – not for using drugs again, but for writing about his shady past.
“We will get a copy of the book and ask our legal experts to study it,” athletics association spokesman Nick Davies told The Associated Press.
According to Davies, the association is concerned Chambers’ book is “bringing the sport into disrepute.”
I’m no track-and-field expert, but if the sport of sprinting is brought into disrepute, wouldn’t it be from athletes using performance-enhancing drugs in the first place, not from writing about using them in the past?
Chambers is a cheater, plain and simple, and the 30-year-old got off easy with just a two-year ban. But he’s served his time.
If the International Association of Athletics Federations can punish an athlete twice for the same offence – which is basically what might happen – what will stop them from going after other athletes for past infractions they’ve already been punished for?
If all the association needs is a technicality, it’s the start of a slippery slope towards despotism in international athletics.
Another possible result from the International Association of Athletics Federation’s nincompoopery and draconian tendencies is that other athletes who have been punished for drug use – or whatever – will be less inclined to discuss their mistakes… not that we really need more athletes writing autobiographies.
Instead, the International Association of Athletics Federations prefers to keep their dirt swept under the rug when they should really be concentrating on keeping athlete’s boots out of the mud in the first place.
Contact Tom Patrick at