JIS News

Former Olympian, Byron LaBeach, who ran in the 100 metres at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, has said that Jamaica’s Olympians should be wary of sabotage and assume full responsibility for what goes into their bodies.
“Anything that involves big money will change the complexity of the sport. When they travel, they should be careful where they eat and drink and whom they eat from, because someone might drop drugs or powder in their food. That’s my message to the athletes,” he told JIS News, in an interview.
“Make sure that whatever your coaches give you, you know what that pill is, you have it checked out, you get a second and third opinion from a manager, a pharmacist, pharmaceutical expert, to find out if it is the correct medical pills you are supposed to take. That’s the most important thing right now in this era,” he continued.
Mr. LaBeach said he was happy that doping, which has tainted track and field over the past 20 years, has never been able to take root in Jamaica’s track and field culture.
Recently, former United States Olympian, Carl Lewis, who, prior to Usain Bolt, was the last man to win gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in a single Olympics, made remarks which stopped just short of accusing the Jamaican of using drugs. Since Jamaica’s performance (6 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze), at the recent Beijing Olympic Games, there have been many insinuations of doping, despite the fact that the country’s athletes were tested (blood and urine), frequently.
But, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Koichiro Matsuura, in a letter to Sport Minister, Olivia Grange, confirming Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown as UNESCO Champions for Sport, saluted the Government’s plans and actions to get rid of doping in sport.
“I wish to recognise the commitment of your Government to the fight against doping in sport. I have followed with considerable interest, the passage of the Anti-Doping in Sports Act and the establishment of the Jamaica National Anti-Doping Commission. I strongly believe that these efforts to preserve doping-free sport will serve as a lasting legacy for your current athletes and the athletes of tomorrow,” he wrote.
In the meantime, Mr. LaBeach is of the view that the performances of Jamaica’s Olympians, especially Usain Bolt, should be used as a platform to provide inspiration for social good and development.
“We have to give thanks to Usain Bolt,” he said, because he is a good role model showing young people that they can strive for excellence. “Track and Field has a different take now, because people see that instead of taking up the gun, they can take up a ‘spikes’ and be somebody,” he argued.
Mr. LaBeach was an alternate member of Jamaica’s 4x400m relay team that won Gold in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and also a member of Jamaica’s Gold medal 4x100m relay team at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City in 1954.