London Olympics: Marlon Devonish Fronts Anti-Doping Advertisement

By Alan Dymock

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein have combined forces with the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and Team GB sprinter Marlon Devonish to launch an advertisement campaign which promotes ‘clean’ performance and a drug-free Olympics.

GlaxoSmithKlein is the official ‘Laboratory Services Provider’ for the Games and LOCOG have placed a huge emphasis on the role of GSK and their scientist.

Indeed, this advertisement comes hot on the heels of an announcement by LOCOG and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the London Games will be the most tested in history. According to officials, every medalist will be tested for and at least 50% of all participants will be required to present samples for screening.

GSK have also revealed that their near-site laboratory will be available to test for doping 24hours a day, 150 scientists will make up their team, 240 prohibited substances will be checked for, and that the shortest turnaround for screening results will be 24hours.

With such an emphasis on the anti-doping message, the hope is that London will be seen as the ‘cleanest’ host in modern Olympic history. As talk of security and logistical wrangling dominating news headlines, it can only benefit LOCOG to make its moves to protect the Games integrity public.

Their model for this campaign is Devonish, a gold medalist in 2004.

Devonish made up the 4x100m relay team –alongside Jason Gardener, Mark Lewis-Francis and Darren Campbell –which defeated team USA by 0.01seconds on the way to gold at the Athens’ Games.

The year before this, Team GB’s 4x100m team had been stripped of their 2002 European Championships’ gold and their 2003 World Championships’ silver following the doping ban of team member Dwain Chambers.

Devonish replaced Chambers and successfully claimed gold at the Olympic games the next year, going some way to repairing the damage of Chambers’ actions and also helping to demonstrate the integrity of team GB and clean performance. He was also been awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his exploits.

Now 36, Marlon Devonish is seen as a leader within the athletics group, and has been given senior roles at other events. He may not challenge Usain Bolt or Yohan Blake for the 200m crown, but the sprinter is certainly a figure that represents endeavor and the principles of the Olympics.

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