LONDON (Reuters) - Sprinter Dwain Chambers said he took a cocktail of more than 300 drugs in one year during which time he passed 10 doping tests.
Chambers was the first high-profile victim of the BALCO scandal when he tested positive in 2003 for the previously undetectable steroid THG manufactured and distributed by Victor Conte, the founder of the California laboratory.
The former European champion, 30, has since returned to competition after completing a two-year ban in 2006.
In his autobiography “Race Against Me” to be published next week, Chambers says: “Barely four months into my “programme” to become the fastest man in the world and I was on drugs nearly every day. At this point I was practically a walking junkie. I was on the lot and the sophisticated modern-day tests detected nothing.
“I was routinely tested for performance-enhancing drugs by an independent tester. Not once did I test positive. By the time I had passed 10 tests, I had won a European gold but my times were hardly improving,” Chambers says in the book which is being serialised in the Daily Mail newspaper this week.
“I realised I wasn’t looking after myself. My body was rejecting it but still I continued to take (it) right up to when I was caught. How crazy was that?
“In October I administered substances 21 times. I wasn’t just on THG, EPO and HGH, but testosterone to help with sleep and reduce cholesterol. I was also injecting insulin, three units into the lower part of my stomach after a heavy weightlifting session.
“On Christmas Day, as I sat in the bathroom with “The Clear” (THG), I realised I had been taking drugs - more than 300 different concoctions - for 12 months. A year on the programme cost $30,000 (21,388 pounds).
“When I was clean, my personal best was 9.97 seconds. A year on, after the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the pain of the cramps, the blood draws to make sure I wouldn’t suffer a stroke or worse, the inconsistent races and the disappointment of missing events, my personal best was 9.87 seconds. I wondered what the hell I had been doing to myself.”
He said he was motivated by the fear of losing his lucrative track shoe contract.
“My motivation was the fear of what might happen. I had a 200,000 pounds contract with Adidas that had a clause in it which reduced my salary by half if I was no longer in the top three (rankings), so I convinced myself the drugs were working.”
He also said drug-induced cramps forced him to pull up in the Commonwealth Games 100 metres in Manchester in 2002.
“By the time I walked back to the dressing room, the cramps had almost gone,” he said. “Physically, I was fine; mentally I was in turmoil. I watched the replays on TV later and wondered for the first time what sort of damage I was doing to myself.”
editing by Justin Palmer
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.