Drug Free Sport NZ admit it's a risk but have used a drugs cheat to warn New Zealand athletes about the perils of drug use.
Tyler Hamilton, who is a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong and who won gold in the individual time trial at the Athens Olympics (he later returned his medal after admitting he had been a drugs cheat) filmed the videos when in the country earlier this year.
The three videos include a direct message to athletes, a message to the parents of athletes, and top tips for staying clean. Hamilton appeals to sportspeople to "do the right thing" so that they can "look in the mirror and know that they've done their best and done it clean".
He hopes New Zealand athletes will learn from his career which saw him reach great heights and then unbearable lows once he was uncovered as a doper. He played a critical role in helping Armstrong to three of his seven Tour de France titles, which were later stripped, and then blowing the whistle on drug taking in cycling and helping expose Armstrong as arguably the biggest drug cheat in sporting history.
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Hamilton was banned in 2009 for eight years after failing another drug test following his original two-year ban in 2004."I wish that when I was a young athlete someone had taken me aside and warned me about the crossroads ahead," Hamilton says in the videos. "This is your warning. Hopefully, some of the mistakes I made can help you make the right choice."
Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel says using a reformed doper to speak to athletes about competing clean is a risk, but believes Hamilton's message is a powerful one.
"Tyler understands where athletes are coming from," Steel said. "He understands what drives them and he understands the pressure they're under to succeed.
"He made some devastatingly poor choices in his desire to succeed and it's our hope that New Zealand athletes will learn from his story, think carefully about the decisions they make, and then choose to compete clean,"
Hamilton is unashamedly upfront about the impact doping had on his life, describing it as "eating him alive". When he was in the country earlier this year he said, "I was living a lie and it was awful. It pretty much haunted me the whole time. It was almost a decade of lying and led to depression, alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts. I was completely alone and a prisoner of my decisions."
Hamilton was not paid to make the videos, but was flown to New Zealand to speak at the Sport NZ conference in April. He pointed then to a report from the Cycling Independent Reform Commission which states that between 20 to 90 per cent of the modern peloton are still doping and said that's "not good enough".
# Drug Free Sport NZ is New Zealand's National Anti-Doping Organisation committed to protecting and promoting a culture of clean sport. For further information (or to report doping in sport) visit www.drugfreesport.org.nz