As runners we understand the hard work and dedication needed to achieve greatness. Whether you define greatness as winning, finishing in the top 50, or simply completing the race. With this is mind, should those who abuse the system be allowed a second chance?
As a Brit, my motivation to write this post is fuelled by the story of none other than our very own Dwain Chambers, a convicted drugs cheat who not only tarnished his own name but that of Great Britain. Ok, so he’s not the first cheat in the world of running and he sure won’t be the last. Whether he is granted a reprieve by the Court of Arbitration to compete in this years Olympics or not, the argument will go on.
In my opinion, people can change. And if we didn’t have this mindset, then criminals would never be handed a second opportunity, nor on the other end of the scale – relationship cheats. For criminals, motivations vary. Whether it’s a cry for help or simply a gluttonous reasoning, there is a reason & once this reason has been address only then can a recovery programme be put into place. The same applies to relationship cheats who are more likely unhappy in their current tie. Although they should do the noble thing, there will be a reason for their behaviour and the likely resolution is the termination of their current relationship and the restart with someone they have a true affinity with.
I’d now like to take a moment to discuss cheating as an institution within sport. My second favourite sport, football is littered with cheating. Whether it’s diving of excessive gesturing to the officials to get another player reprimanded. It needs to be stamped out – undoubtedly, but sadly it’s part of the game and hard to monitor. I’d argue that diving within football / soccer is much more of a problem than drugs cheats. Both are conducted in order to give one team or individual an unfair advantage, yet in football it happens every week – so why are athletes chastised when footballers are praised. A great example would be Didier Drogba’s antics on the pitch, 90 minutes of falling over is easily forgotten when he scores a cracker from 35 yards!
So, back to running. I train hard and to be beaten by someone who has cheated the system is not right. In my opinion, if that same person was to accept their ban, continue to train and above all recognise their faults and change their ways. I would have no problem in competing with them again. And why not. Dwain Chambers has certainly ticked all of these boxes and should he re-offend – yes, a life ban is perhaps the answer – but surely we all deserve a second chance?
Should drugs cheats be allowed a second chance? Or have they abused their right to compete for life? Should an example be made of them, so as others will think twice before trying to gain an unfair advantage? Is a drugs cheat any worse than another variant of cheat?