Christie threatened drug testers

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE yesterday admitted being verbally abusive and physically threatening towards official drugs testers, whose job is to police athletics for drug cheats.

The former Olympic and world sprint champion was also accused of being the "Judy Garland of the 100 metres" over his earlier emotional outbursts in the High Court.

The angry exchanges between Christie and John McVicar, the former armed robber turned journalist, came on the fifth day of the libel trial between the two at the court.

Christie is suing over allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs during his distinguished career. McVicar, who is defending himself, quoted from a series of reports from Sports Council testers, known as Independent Sampling Officials (ISO), over Christie's attitude to drug testing.

In one incident in Lanzarote in 1992 Christie had gone "ballistic" said McVicar, when testers paid a late night call to his training camp. An official report later described this as: "The most serious abuse ever experienced and reported by an ISO".

A doctor's report from an incident in Gateshead in 1990 described how Christie had become "excessively excited and agitated" in the doping control room, complaining about being picked on and denigrating the whole testing process. The doctor had justified the regime by saying that he suspected all athletes as possible drug takers.

"He finished by threatening me with physical violence," said the doctor's report.

When this was put to Christie yesterday he replied: "Yes, I did indeed. I believe I could have threatened him."

At an indoor meeting in 1991, when he was Great Britain team captain, Christie was said to have objected "very vocally" after being asked to give a test after a semi-final race, describing the event as "poxy" and insulting other athletes present. The ISO on this occasion contrasted this "overtly aggressive response" to Christie's public statements in favour of drugs testing.

At another Gateshead meeting in 1993 he called a woman tester "a shit" for not allowing him to take a jog after a race when he was required to give a urine test. He had suggested taking a chaperone to watch him as he said he had done on other occasions.

"I think I did call her a shit" Christie told the court "I think she is a shit because she wouldn't allow me to warm down". McVicar accused him of using this aggressive behaviour to intimidate the testers.

"I am an aggressive athlete by trade" replied Christie. "I am open to outbursts. I need to be aggressive to run the 100 metres. That's just how it is."

McVicar also accused him of faking emotional outbursts in court, particularly on the first day when Christie broke down in tears and the court had to be adjourned.

"Out came the smelling salts and the lace hanky", said McVicar. "This is the Judy Garland of the 100 metres."

This was a fake and an act, said McVicar "Just as you try to manipulate the testers with your aggression, you try to manipulate the jury with your tears."

Drawing his cross examination to a close, McVicar repeated his central allegations and said that Christie's defining characteristic was a will to win at all costs.

"You play to win and will cut any corner to win, and if you thought you could take performance enhancing drugs and get away with it you would," said McVicar. "You would and you have, because modern elite athletics offers an abundance of scope for negating the test by which drugs in sport is regulated," he added.

The case continues.