Give Drug Cheats Lifetime Olympic Bans, Urges IOC’s Athletes’ Forum
The following poll results appeared on the Inside the Games blog on October 11, 2011. It is an unscientific poll of blog readers who responded following the recent decision by the Court of Arbitration and Sport to reinstate American 400 meter runner LaShawn Merritt to Olympic competition following a two year ban for testing positive for banned substances.
Following the poll is an article that appears on the Inside the Games blog on October 11 reporting a recommendation by the IOC Olympic Athletes Forum regarding lifetime bans for athletes who test positive for banned substances.
Should athletes convicted of drugs offences be allowed to run in the Olympics?
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Forum has recommended that athletes found guilty of intentional doping offences should receive “a lifetime Olympic ban”, at the end of their fifth meeting in Colorado Springs.
The proposal comes less than a week after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that American 400 metre Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt could compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games despite having been banned by the IOC for a failed drugs test in early 2010, which saw him suspended for 21 months after an appeal.
Merritt was banned from London 2012 under the IOC’s rule 45 – also known as the “Osaka rule” – which meant athletes failing drugs tests who serve suspensions in excess of six months would be banned from the next Olympic Games.
CAS ruled that it was unenforceable as the World Anti-Doping Code stipulates a maximum two-year penalty for such offences and that the IOC’s position therefore amounted to a double punishment.
Now a host of athletes are hoping to compete in the next Summer Games in London in 2012 or the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.
Among the attendees at the meeting were 16 IOC members, including IOC President Jacques Rogge, Executive Board members Thomas Bach, Richard Carrión, Rene Fasel and Frankie Fredericks, and members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, including Paralympian Bob Balk and Olympian Angela Ruggiero, America’s representatives.
The Athletes’ Forum though have backed the position taken by the British Olympic Association (BOA), who stood by their bylaw which prevents drug cheats from competing under the British flag in any future Olympic Games immediately after the CAS ruling.
The forum said that any athletes “convicted of deliberate and aggravated doping offences should receive a lifetime Olympic ban”.
“Coaches doctors and any other members of an athlete’s entourage found to be taking part in illegal doping practices must be convicted and sanctioned.”
In the wake of last week’s ruling, the IOC indicated that they would look to toughen up the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) code, and the support of the Athletes’ Forum would seem to strengthen their resolve and determination to make such a change.
And they could have the support of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA), whose chief executive Travis Tygart had called on the BOA to abandon their rule because it was outside the WADA code, whilst at the same time indicating that he could support a similar rule adopted worldwide.
“Let’s not go outside [the WADA] process, like the BOA has,” Tygart had said.
“If we want lifetime bans – and that could be the right thing to do to protect clean athletes – let’s do it via WADA so that it applies to every country.”
The Athletes’ Forum recommendations will now go to the IOC executive board, who will consider whether to approve the proposal.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles from this blog are reprinted here with permission. Inside the Games is a blog affiliated with the London 2012 Summer Games.