Three-time London Marathon winner and world record holder Paula Radcliffe has issued a statement denying “cheating in any form” following British parliamentary Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing into blood doping accusations on Tuesday.
The parliamentary inquiry into doping in athletics was launched after The Sunday Times reported last month on analysis implying that the International Association of Athletics Federations had ignored suspicious blood tests.
Although Radcliffe’s name has not been mentioned in any media stories relating to recent doping allegations and her name was not specially mentioned in the hearing, Radcliffe herself feels her name was alluded to.
Committee chairman Jesse Norman suggested winners at the London Marathon were under suspicion.
Today, Radcliffe has hit back with a lengthy statement saying:
“I categorically deny that I have resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever at any time in my career, and am devastated that my name has even been linked to these wide-ranging accusations.
I have campaigned long and hard throughout my career for a clean sport. I have publicly condemned cheats and those who aid them. These accusations threaten to undermine all I have stood and competed for, as well as my hard-earned reputation. By linking me to allegations of cheating, damage done to my name and reputation can never be fully repaired, no matter how untrue I know them to be.
Whilst I have the greatest of respect for anyone responsibly trying to uncover cheating in sport, and of course for parliament itself, it is profoundly disappointing that the cloak of parliamentary privilege has been used to effectively implicate me, tarnishing my reputation, with full knowledge that I have no recourse against anyone for repeating what has been said at the committee hearing.
At the time of the recent Sunday Times coverage, I wrestled long and hard with a desire to speak out with the true facts concerning my position, and, to fully explain any fluctuations in my blood data. However by ‘coming out’ in that fashion I was made aware that I would be facilitating mass coverage of my name in connection with false allegations of possible doping, which would enable further irreparable damage to be done to my reputation. As a result of today’s parliamentary hearing I can no longer maintain my silence.
The investigation by ARD and the Sunday Times may have been a perfectly valid enterprise if the goal was to expose cheats, their supporters, and, their infrastructures. If, however, innocent athletes, as in my case, are caught up in the desire to sensationalise and expand the story, then that goal loses a lot of credibility, and indeed, opportunities to catch the true offenders.
I am 100% confident that the full explanations and circumstances around any fluctuations in my personal data on a very small number of occasions will stand up to any proper scrutiny and investigation. Indeed they have already done so. In my case, numerous experts have concluded that there is simply no case to answer. I have at all times been open and transparent, encouraging and supporting the use of blood profiling for many years.
At no time have any of the various anti- doping authorities found any reason to level any charge of abnormal practice or cheating against me whatsoever. My results were reviewed contemporaneously, and, more recently at my request following the Sunday Times’ articles, which insofar as they erroneously alluded to me were irresponsibly published. Nothing improper has ever been found, since it never occurred. Wada themselves have again investigated following the recent articles. I understand the team from Wada found nothing and I fully expect that once the independent committee publish their report I will again be found to have no case to answer.”
Photo Credit: Phil McElhinney