Welcome ladies and gentlemen of the Olympic and anti-doping committees. My name is Ben Lawes and I am here to address the issue of ability enhancing drugs within sport. I’m sure many of you have strong views that possibly contradict each other however I am here to express my opinion towards this topic.
What do you think about these drugs and the laws that come with them?
Do you think that it is disgraceful and offenders should be punished severely?
Or is it just a hiccup in their career, possibly a complete misunderstanding meaning that they should just be issued with a minor ban?
This is the decision that must be made.
The current law was only recently changed and now allows offenders to serve a ban but makes them eligible to compete in the sport after they have served it. But this has not always been the case. Before the law changed, athletes who had taken anabolic steroids were banned from their sport for a considerable amount of time and they could not return to certain competitions afterwards. Due to the change of law many athletes who thought their careers were over were granted the privilege to compete once again.
My view on the subject is different to both the current and the previous law. I think that people who take the drugs knowingly and who abuse the spirit of sport deserve no forgiveness, no exoneration and no amnesty. However there are many cases where the offender is unaware of what they are doing including the unfortunate story of Alain Baxter.
Alain Baxter was the first Britain to win an Olympic skiing medal when he stepped onto the podium at the salt lake winter Olympics 2002, but his victory was short lived when he returned home to discover he had been tested positive for a banned substance and would therefore have to return his medal. The sample that he provided contained a minute amount, I repeat, a minute amount of methamphetamine. Believe it or not, this substance had come from a Vicks inhaler, a simple and otherwise harmless medicinal treatment. Although Baxter had used these in Britain without any problems, the US version was subtly different. He was stripped of an Olympic medal for using a nasal stick; I believe he did not deserve the punishment he got.
So what I would like to show you all today is my proposition for what I believe the law should be. There are two groups of people who have been