For the first time ever, Drug Free Sport NZ has used a reformed doper to deliver a series of captivating video messages to warn New Zealand athletes about the perils of drug use.
World-renowned road cyclist and former teammate of Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, filmed the videos when he was in the country earlier this year.
The three enthralling and thought-provoking videos include a direct message to athletes, a message to the parents of athletes, and top tips for staying clean.
In the videos, Mr 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 gruelling career which saw him reach great heights and then unbearable lows once he was uncovered as a doper.
“I wish that when I was a young athlete someone had taken me aside and warned me about the crossroads ahead. This is your warning. Hopefully, some of the mistakes I made can help you make the right choice,” he says.
Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel says using a reformed doper to speak to athletes about competing clean was a risk, but Mr Hamilton’s message was a powerful one.
“Tyler understands where athletes are coming from. 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,” Mr Steel says.
Mr 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.”
The videos are now available to view below and on the Drug Free Sport NZ website, www.drugfreesport.org.nz
Tyler Hamilton talks about the life of a doper:
Tyler Hamilton’s top tips for competing clean:
Tyler Hamilton’s message to parents:
Mr Hamilton was not paid to make the videos, but was flown to New Zealand to speak at the Sport NZ conference in April.
For more information:
Visit the Drug Free Sport NZ website: www.drugfreesport.org.nz
For further comment:
Chief Executive Drug Free Sport NZ
ph: (09) 582 0522 or 021 679 706
About Drug Free Sport NZ:
- Drug Free Sport NZ is New Zealand’s National Anti-Doping Organisation committed to protecting and promoting a culture of clean sport.
- We implement the World Anti-Doping Code which details the anti-doping rules, as well as prohibited substances and doping methods. We help athletes to understand and follow these rules and take action against those who break these rules.
- Our work comprises three key components:
- enforcement through our testing and investigations programme
- education through athlete resources, outreach programmes, seminars, and research
- influence to help create a culture of clean sport in New Zealand and to ensure anti-doping rules reflect the needs of our athletes.
- In 2014/15, Drug Free Sport NZ collected almost 1500 samples from New Zealand and international athletes.
- In the same year, seven athletes were disciplined for anti-doping rule violations.