sports gazette

Top FIVE Doping Cheats in Sport

Published: 2 Nov 2013

Top five worst doping offenders in athletics and cycling.

Doping, the use of performance enhancing substances to gain unfair advantage, has been challenging sports officials for many years. Doping has been used to most effect in sprint events such as the 100m or 200m and endurance ones such as cycling’s most prestigious race, the Tour de France. As a result clean athletes, who have had lots of success, notably Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake and the British cycling team, Team Sky have faced considerable questioning about doping recently.
Following on from the October 2013 London Sports Writing Festival talk on cheating in sport here are the Top Five worst doping offenders.  

1. Lance Armstrong
In 2012, the American cyclist was caught at the centre of the most serious doping scandal in history. This resulted in him being stripped of every one of his seven Tour de France titles. On the 10th October 2012 the United States Anti-Doping Agency filed a thousand page report concluding that his cycling team ran the most sophisticated and successful doping programme the sport had ever seen. International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid declared “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and deserves to be forgotten”. This left the Tour de France without any winners between the years 1999-2005 and long-term damage has been done to road cycling’s credibility as a sport. This in turn has led to more questions about recent winners such as Team Sky's Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Sir Dave Brailsford, Head of Team Sky constantly denies that his racers are receiving any drugs or illegal supplements from fellow competitors and French newspapers.

2. Ben Johnson
The Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was sent home from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in disgrace. He was banned from sprinting for two years after testing positive for drugs. Three days after breaking the world record with a time of 9.79 seconds, he was stripped of all other world records and medals and did not begin racing again until 1991. Two years later he was banned for life by the International Association of Athletics after testing positive again for steroids at an indoor meeting in Montreal, Canada. World records were also removed from the sport and this began the start of inquests into 100m running events. The inquests continue today. the most recent being in the Jamaican team, involving male athlete Asafa Powell and female Sherone Simpson as well as American sprinter Tyson Gay. All of this has brought the sport into the headlines for the wrong reasons.

3. Marion Jones
The American female sprinter Marion Jones became the first woman to win five track and field medals at a single Olympic games back in Sydney 2000. In 2006 she tested positive for a banned substance but was later cleared. Later in 2007 she admitted to using banned substances and returned her Olympic medals. This affected the results of a lot of events back in 2000 and as Katherine Grainger, British rower and 2012 Olympic gold medalist, says “it denies athletes the opportunity to hear their national anthem on the top step of the medal podium with friends and families looking on”.

4. Floyd Landis
Landis won the Tour De France in 2006 impressively after having to recover from losing 10 minutes on Stage 16. Due to his use of synthetic testosterone however he then became the first Tour de France winner to be disqualified officially since1904. Maurice-Francois Garin was the first. Recently Landis stated his regret at being involved in doping during his cycling career, but said "the sport's corrupt governance during that time created an environment where cheating was required." The investigation into his use of synthetic testosterone became the starting point for anti doping agencies’ investigations into other cyclists. More cheats were then uncovered.

5. Dwain Chambers
The British 100m sprinter used the banned performance-enhancing drug, THG in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games back in 2003. His ban started in 2004 and ended in 2006. All his results in the 2002-2003 season were annulled, including the European record of 9.87sec. He was banned for two years, returning in 2006 to win the European 4x100m relay. His teammate Darren Campbell refused to celebrate winning the event as a result of his cheating in 2004 and did not want to be associated with him. He was allowed to run at the 2012 London Olympics, however, athletes such as 400m hurdler Dai Greene believe Chambers should have been banned for life as he knowingly cheated.

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