Athletics: Christie 'thought of suicide' over drugs charge: Britain's world and Olympic 100 metres champion highlights the futility of steroid abuse

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The Independent Online
LINFORD CHRISTIE has said that he seriously contemplated suicide six years ago after being accused of taking an illegal substance at the Seoul Olympics.

Christie - who moved up to silver medal position in the 100 metres after the positive drug finding on the winner, Ben Johnson - had an agonising wait of 24 hours before the International Olympic Committee's medical committee ruled that he had committed no infringement. Small traces of pseudoephedrine found in his sample had come from ginseng tea.

In LWT's London Programme this Sunday, the world and Olympic 100m champion reveals that during that tense time he stood on the ninth floor balcony of his room in the Olympic village and thought of throwing himself off.

Referring to the drug charge, he said: 'I honestly thought about suicide because of the shame and embarrassment it would bring on my friends and family even though I was innocent. I felt like shit, to be honest. It was the worst moment of my athletic career.

'I think I'm still running against people that are cheating but my motto is to accuse them by the easy way out - I'm clean, I'm No 1 in the world, so I'm proving that if you're on drugs then you're in trouble because those drugs aren't working. I'm clean and I'm beating you.'

Meanwhile, Roger Black, who runs his first 400m in over a year at the AAA championships in Sheffield this weekend after recovering from a viral complaint, has criticised the support offered in England to ill or injured athletes.

'I have been training recently in Australia and France, where athletes are really looked after and cared for,' the double European champion said. 'British athletes are respected throughout the world for being very, very tough. All of us have to be, because we don't have an alternative.

'It's not just a case of money for building up medical support. It's having the right people really wanting to help. Ultimately, all the athletes are on their own.'

Jens-Peter Herold, of Germany, is doubtful of being fit to defend his European 1500m title in Helsinki in August. Herold has an Achilles tendon injury and will not be able to run again until the end of July.