How we need to tackle doping in sport…

30 August 2013 Comments 5

I first spoke to Ben Johnson about an anti-doping project around six months ago and it was clear he was engaged and committed. His insight into the problems was fascinating and he plainly wanted to be involved. While SKINS is promoting the campaign around the world for the next month, Ben isn’t taking a penny for his involvement. That’s because 25 years on, he recognises that nothing has changed and now he wants to do something about it. He has matured, he has understood more about the issues and the dangers and watched on as the administrators have done little about tackling the real causes.

The campaign is called #ChooseTheRightTrack and it will propose a series of points that we believe are required if sport is to get a grip of doping and maintain the integrity of sport. 25 years ago, Ben and his peers had no independent support. It was just the athlete, their coaches and their team-mates and it’s still the same now. Our campaign proposes an Athlete Support Council which will provide support for athletes who require it and a chance for competitors and administrators to finally begin to bridge the cultural chasm that still exists between them.

The campaign will also be proposing an independent mandate and appropriate funding for the World Anti-Doping Agency, (WADA) so they may fulfill their potential in managing a global process to combat doping. Finally, we’ll also be talking about a process that’s akin to Truth & Reconciliation whereby certain sports can utilise the experiences of athletes who have doped to garner knowledge, improve their processes and do it in a way that allows athletes to talk freely without fear of retribution.

We believe the campaign reflects the views of millions of sports fans across the world and we’re asking you – and them – to join us by signing a petition for change. A recent survey we conducted suggests people have had enough and the outcome of too many victories is shrouded in too much doubt for them to be enjoyed in the way they should be.

So over the next few weeks, until we take Ben back to Seoul on the 25th anniversary of the 100 metres final to visit the stadium in which he ran that infamous race, I’d be delighted if you’d follow us on our journey through social media channels and our campaign website at

If you agree with the principles that we’re promoting – and I’m certain that millions of sports fans do – please sign the petition. We want you to be involved and be part of a movement which advocates a change in approach that means fans across the world can regain the trust in their favourite sports, favourite teams and their athletic heroes.

Keep tuning in. It should be fun and there’ll be some surprises along the way.

5 comments on "How we need to tackle doping in sport…"

  1. John Birch on 30 August 2013

    Is Ben the right person to lead this campaign? He denied his drug taking for years and even now is still blaming the USA for his ‘failed’ drug tests!

    • Jaimie Fuller SKINS Chairman on 31 August 2013

      hi john, thanks for the comment. not sure exactly what you’re referring to but certainly he has not said this to me. he has mentioned that there were positive tests on US athletes that were covered up (this has been established as fact) but that’s certainly nothing to do with his positive. Ben doped, he acknowledges this and is apologising for having done so. the fact that others did the same and got away with it is neither here nor there.
      this campaign is about raising awareness of the continued problems and offering solutions and we believe Ben is a very good fit, based on his desire to help make things better. Instead of questioning whether Ben is the best guy to be involved, i’d ask people to suggest better alternatives. don’t forget that a key component of this is the 25th anniversary of the race and obviously this is a unique opportunity.
      i have had several suggest we’d be better to have a ‘clean’ athlete promote this but frankly the media interest would be almost nil. with Ben we will at the very least have our voice heard loud and clear – and challenged.
      thanks again for commenting

  2. Matt on 3 September 2013

    ben is the perfect choice. the atheletes are pawns of a corrupt system that hangs them out to dry so we all have someone to blame. Meanwhile the organzing bodies are faceless and keep sweeping the problem under the rug. Ben and others should be used to help clean up the sport otherwise where are we as a society when we think that banishing someone for life and blaming them for the worlds problems is a solution. Meanwhile Hollywood puts out movies every year with obvious steroid users and we all pay millions to go watch. The same people who point at Ben go get the testosterone patch and all other kids of crap to get through life. Its time to let these atheletes help kids and the rest of us to see how damaged the system is and help the atheletes make the right choice

  3. Mike on 11 September 2013

    Suggest better alternative? Easy.

    Dwain Chambers. Learnt his lesson, was fully open after the event, rather than repeat offending as johnston did, and came back to place 3rd? On the all time 60 indoor list behind a dubious mo greene ( considering the later herada revelations) So is a goid role model for ex dopers. Chambers has been ostracised far more than such as Gatlin who kept their mouths shut. I think you should at least discuss with him,

  4. Antony 'Atom Ant' Cosentino on 23 September 2013

    I’ll preface this by saying as a Natural and ASADA tested dual national champion, I am very happy to see Skins taking the initiative to clean up sport. I am Australia’s Strongest Man U80kg, U90kg and 7th in the World U80kg in the sport of Strongman which is not tested and is DOMINATED by doping. I joined the heavily ASADA tested IPF Powerlifting so that I would be tested and prove my titles are clean and earnt. I rely on legal aids such as Skins power tights and recovery gear to help my performance and recovery.

    Every athlete only dopes for fame and financial benefit. Given that Skins provides the financial support and subsequent fame to the Sporting Administrating Body’s or Teams, what is Skins’ position on the subliminal support for doping in the AFL and other codes. I highlight the AFL because of its openly publicised 3 strike rule. Rules like this only pressure clean athletes to take illegal substances as they try to compete with Doping athletes that utilise the leniency of the AFL’s 3 strikes. In this system, natural athletes are actually punished as their abilities and acheivements are overshadowed by those of outperforming dopers. They consequently receive lower financial remunerations and shorter carers as they are outdone by the next doper or burn out from overextending themselves to try remain competitive. Many of these injuries and wear and tear will hinder the athletes for the rest of their lives. Will power and heart are finite in comparison to the infinite possibilities provided by doping.

    The moral duty owed to the athletes is that no-one should tolerate ANY doping. Support reformers, but eliminate systematic support for Doping… Even if this means forcing Administrating Body’s to change their position by withdrawing support for anyone associated with doping. Any other option is simply colluding and supporting the continuation of drugs in sport.

    As a struggling athlete in a non paid and brutally tough sport, I routinely turn down support from organisations that are Pro Doping because it is morally wrong. This has resulted in considerable financial and product loss, meanwhile dopers receive far copious levels of support. Despite being more injury prone and guaranteeing myself a shorter career, I actively campaign amongst my competitors to go clean, but when the sponsors and the leagues turn a blind eye and award the prizes and podiums to Dopers I can understand where their motivation comes from.

    I hope this puts a little perspective on Drugs in Sport so that Sponsors who are proactive in campaigning against Doping understand that there are additional ways to support clean athletes and help reform dopers.

    Stay Safe, Stay Strong
    Antony ‘Atom Ant’ Cosentino