The New Olympic Trial

So Dwain Chambers won’t be at the Olympics. Justice Sir Colin Mackay told the High Court that, although he views the lifetime ban bylaw imposed by the British Olympic Association as unlawful, “it would take a much better case than the claimant has presented to persuade me to overturn the status quo at this stage and compel his selection for the Games.”

The right decision? Yes. The Olympics is, of course, a quite despicable brand itself. You might argue that it deserves Chambers.

But sport still provides enough compelling drama to fuel the dreams of young hopefuls. Many of those young hopefuls will be going to Beijing after years of hard work and dedication. They’ll be going with a question mark over their heads: Is he clean? What’s she on? It is cheats like Chambers that cause our cynicism.

And what of that hard work and dedication? When others have been slavishly reducing times and cracking personal bests Chambers has been, apparently, doing anything but. American football, rugby league, Hell’s Kitchen – anything in fact to keep Dwain Chambers in the news and in the money.

Is he repentant? Who knows? But his comments that only a drug cheat can win the Olympics suggest that he’s either not that sorry or, if he is clean now, he couldn’t win anyway.

My opinion: the right decision, the sight of Chambers scurrying away from the cameras outside the High Court contained a certain irony that a man who seems to have a burning desire to always be in the limelight should be denied the biggest stage of all.

So our chances of gold in the 100m might be reduced. So what. For once, I think, Britain might be able to claim a moral victory here. And to those that say he’s served his punishment: Dwain Chambers knew a lifetime Olympic ban was a consequence of taking drugs. It’s part of his punishment. He knew that.

Another point: it’s becoming ludicrous that so many sporting decisions are ending up in the law courts. End it now.

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