Should former dopers be allowed to compete at the Olympics?

The British Olympic Association board meets on Wednesday to discuss whether to ask for independent review of its policy of life bans for those who have failed doping tests in the past.

If the rule is overturned, sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar could take part at London 2012, and both could help GB win more medals.

There are three clear schools of thought on this:

  • The current BOA view is that drugs cheats should never be allowed to compete at an Olympic Games again, but Great Britain is now the only country to enforce a rule to that extent.
  • The International Olympic Committee used to have a rule preventing an athlete who failed at test from competing at the next Games after that test, but that rule was recently overturned on the grounds it affected athletes differently, depending on when the failed test occurred.
  • The World Anti Doping Association maintains that the standard two-year ban from all competition is sufficient, and that former dopers should be allowed at the Olympics after that.

What do you think?


UPDATE Wednesday 1030 GMT: Lots of people are giving their opinions on Twitter by tweeting @martingough22. I’ll update through the day with a pick of them. It would be particularly interesting to hear from current and former athletes, who may have competed or be competing at 2012 alongside those who have returned from bans.


British world champion rower Anna Watkins: “Absolutely not. Olympics a privilege not a right. You represent your country and you have to live up to the responsibility.”

GB single sculler Alan Campbell: “Once guilty, it should be a lifetime ban from competing in any competition or sport. Same should go for racist footballers.”

GB rower Bill Lucas: “I think they shouldn’t [be allowed to compete at the Olympics] but I think it’s more important that the rule is universal and not just applied to GB athletes.”

Other views:

@PhilipREvans “Absolutely! You can never give back the experience of winning gold at the Olympics to someone who lost to a cheat!”

@Ben_Rodford “If no lifetime Oly ban then dopers get long-term physiological benefits of cheating but only short-term ban from competition.”

@fatsculler “Those guilty of cheating then lifetime ban, if by ‘accident’ eg Alain Baxter then should be ok to compete.”

@karonp “Definitely should be a lifetime ban. Cheating is cheating!”

@rocktheboatrow “No, wouldn’t give them a second opportunity when other clean athletes give their all for selection.”

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