David Hemery, Olympic Champion and Former President of UK Athletics Extra Time

David Hemery, Olympic Champion and Former President of UK Athletics

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We will ask him why shortly T international ban on Russia's track


and field athletes which presents them from going to Rio and the IOC's


failure to extend that to the rest of the Russian team will have to be


where we start. After all, distinguished career in


sports governance, David Henry spent four years as President of sports


athletics, a role he identified as being the conscience of the sport.


David Henry, welcome to Extra Time. As you know, we've had a damning


report which provides evidence of widespread sports doping programme


overseen by the Russian state and a recommendation from the World


Anti-Doping Agency that the country's competitors should be


entirely banned from the Rio Olympics. We also have the IOC


handing the responsibility of disciplinary action to the


International Sports Federations. What do you make of this


extraordinary story? It is an extraordinary story. It's quite sad


that the IOC have not grasped the nettle. That's what you would have


liked them to have done? I believe they should have done something in a


way saying this is not acceptable, in a way some people have said it's


passing the buck to go to individual sports, however you might argue that


some of the individual sports are those areas that rarely, if ever,


you see doping. It would have been very unfair that those sports, I


suppose have gone down the route, I deeply regret them not taking a


different stand. Not clear if you are equivocating here. Which side of


the argument do you fall on? I think they voweled have made it a ban.


Total, blanket ban? It would have been devastating for some of the


athletes there. If you have many countries where individuals, they


might be agents or managers or athletes or coaches, trying to break


the rules by doping and they get caught, you've got many countries


where this has happened. When it's state sponsored, it's different. But


put yourself in the position, then of a Russian athlete, competitor in


any sport, who is keen, knows he or she is clean, has never failed a


test and yet you would be banned from the Rio Olympics, maybe your


last chance at appearing in an Olympics because of the


misdemeanours either of fellow competitors or, indeed, of the


state. How would you feel about that? It would be devastating. I


think I would then go at my national governing bodies or the nation it,


saying this is not good enough, you've got to do something serious


about it. It's, a very, very tough one. But I think at some point you


have to draw a line calling on integrity. Well, IOC President,


Thomas Bach is clear that he's done the right thing. "I think we've


balanced on the one hand the need for personal responsibility verses


the right and responsibility of each individual athlete". Has he passed


the buck? He's deaf knittedly passed the buck. It's sad that they haven't


stood up when it's probably the most significant challenge they've ever


had. The biggest cry it ises the IOC has faced? Probably.


Beyond Salt Lake City? Definitely beyond Salt Lake City. This is a


national proven hundreds and hundreds of athletes doped. In the


individuals can prove largely - some of them are living at university in


the US - and they can prove they were tested during that time, they


are going to be allowed to compete under an Olympic individual flag and


I welcome that. Would that more had done that. I mean, at the heart of


the issue is the question of which effectively is the bigger


wrongdoing? Is it the deprivation of an Olympic place for a clean athlete


or the deprivation of a medal for a clean athlete by a fellow competitor


who's been doping? There are two issues here. Which for you is the


greater difficulty? Moral difficulty?


I think both have, you have the moral question of what is fair play,


what is integrity, and what it is to cheat. Globally it should be


education for young people to discuss those words. What does fair


play actually mean? How does that carry into what's going on at the


moment? What do the Olympics mean now, do


the Olympic movement, how do you foresee the future for it now? I


think it's good to raise the issue. That's the key. Is that with


awareness comes a choice and you have to make responsible choices in


your life. Every choice has a consequence and those that cheat and


are caught are gone. I wish they were gone for longer. I just find it


pretty on noxious that someone can receive a ban, do two years, come


back, be banned again and still come back. Well, there are


inconsistencies here as well, because any Russian athlete who's


been found guilty of doping is not allowed to go to Rio. That's pretty


clear from the IOC's decision making. But they are allowing, for


example, someone like a competitor who's been banned twice, this


American competitor to compete. Where is the consistency? It's


muddled thinking isn't it? That is why the IAAF, which Seb Coe is


leading, have an opportunity to change their rules. I know he wishes


to move it from two years to four. If they're caught a second time


they're gone. I would welcome that kind of stronger view on drugs.


We're very lucky in this country that we have an out of competition


testing system and you can pretty much guarantee that all the British


athletes who are in Rio are not drug takers. Or cheats, whatever you want


to call it. And I wish that there was sufficient money globally to


have more countries have random testing.


I mean, clearly there's a question of money here now. Out of


competition. Yes, of course. I've raised the name of Justin Gatlin. He


appeared on this programme, back, I think in 2005. Here is a quote for


you, "I have to go out there", he told me. "And show people that every


person who runs fast is not drugged up and every person who runs fast is


not cheating." Last year we had Bolt verses Gatlin, it will happen again.


What's the result you want to see? No. Good guy verses the bad guy. And


we were very relieved that Bolt won last time out. He's had some injury


issued, so I hope he can do it again. But if he doesn't? It


tarnishes the sport. We ought to accelerate the speed in which these


rule also be changed. Let me ask you about


whistle-blowers, this is a live issue, 800m runner Stepanova, banned


for two years for inconsistencies in her biological passport, then turned


whistle-blower and has now been told she can't compete in Rio. What does


that say about the future co-operation of whistle-blowers in


the fight against drugs? There certainly needs to be some kind of


benefit in whistleblowering. That is a slap in the face for someone who


tried to do the right thing. So I don't know what sort of incentive


people need to be whistle-blowers, but certainly that is a slap in the


face, as you say, if they are going to ban her from the chance to


compete. She'd have to prove that she was clean now, and the trouble


is some of the drugs that people take will be in the system, will


have changed themselves buy logically. So it's a tough one,


really a tough one. That there should be some recompense for that,


the willingness to blow the whistle-blower.


Yes, there seems to be so many inconsistencies and mudless and in


whole thing and it still has to play out as we say before fifth August.


What about the role of Lord Coe as President. Relatively new President


to the IAAF. He inherited obviously a whole barrow-load of problems from


the Presidency before. Do you sense now that he is taking the fight


forward against doping in the way that certainly the British sporting


community would want? He has been criticised, after all, byed Warner,


from time to time, the Chairman of UK Athletics, for perhaps not being


as pro-active as he should be. I think his first response when there


were accusations of the IAAF was to say, this is not true and then it


was found it was true. But most people have said that he is probably


the right person to be taking this forward. He's got the international


experience, competitive experience, and his intention is to do something


dramatic to try to combat this. So the fact that he through that sport


banned the Russians is a step in the right direction. One dramatic thing


that he and it seemsed Warner are agreed on, is the abolition of all


previous records. Whether or not, whether or not those records could


be proven to have been established by proven drugs' cheats. What do you


think of that? A complete reset? Yes, that does a huge injustice to


those who are clean. It's a bad idea. I think it's a bad idea. I


think it's an idea that you take away all the records when you can


prove someone has been, state-supported cheating, which is


what happened with the East Germans. It's ridiculous we got some of those


Eastern German records still on the record books. Makes a mockery of


them. As you anticipate the Olympics, do you think the public


will have any faith in the integrity of the sport they are watching? I


hope they will have some. Maybe you have some sports more than


others? Yes, indeed. It's horrible that you can watch a great


performance and then just step back from it and say, I wonder, I wonder


if they're clean. And you have to hope that they are. In your time?


Did you ever step back and wonder? Well, I was actually told that the


Americans were experimenting with anabolic steroids in their training


camp before Mexico. Previously it was what we used to call the


heavies. It was before they were tested for it. The Americans were


quite strong in your field? They were, co-favourites, whether it did


any good to them in their training camps three or four weeks before, I


don't know. And the heavies were the East Germans? No, the throwers. The


hammer, where the bulk helps and the anabolic steroids, for those who are


bulky, bull ks them up more but enables yo u to recover faster and


do more work. What did you make of all that at the time? Righteous


indignation. I heard this was going on and it was like over my dead body


will be you beat me by cheating. But you couldn't or wouldn't speak out?


What would you say? I don't know what one would say. Who would you


speak out to? Well, the authorities, I suppose.


But you didn't? You chose not to, because? I was focussed on my event.


It was actually in Mexico, I was told, so four weeks before we went


out there to try to do a bit of acclimatisation. So let me take you


back to Mexico City, 1968. A long time ago now. But nevertheless,


despite the fact it was a long time ago, sport wasn't unaffected by


politics at the time. Black power of course, a salute at your games. But


you are a... 400m final. Can you briefly take us through, 48 second


ts? Perhaps it will take 48 seconds to


get through it I don't know. But a little bit of story of the race?


I've never been more nervous in virtually any situation. You're


trying to pour years of preparation into less than a minute. So the


pressure I put on myself was far greater than anyone's expectation. I


intended to win, really big difference between intended to and


hoped to. You do something more about it. You had a greater


intention than your fellow competitors you think? I think I had


a belief that with all the work that I'd put in, the fact that I'd been a


high hurdler, so technically I was proficient over the hurdles. I'd


done a mammoth amount of work in the build-up to run actually faster than


I had in the high hurdles, the whole 400, just per 100m it was faster.


And that was then trying to pour all that into 48 seconds. You dominated


the race entirely? Well, it looked like that because one of the


co-favourites was just between, I was in Lane 6 and John Sherwood,


another Brit, was in lane 8. Ron Witney went off slowly, he was one


of the co-favourites and set an Olympic record in the heats. So that


action of going off slowly meant I passed him after 125m and David


Coleman went mad in saying, run up on the Olympic record on Witney,


he's gambling, never done a back straight, in his commentary, he went


mad. Britain was rarely getting golds.


He said his eye went to the camera and saw it was a world record.


Second, third and fourth tied in on the record. He went to ask him why


he had won because you were nine metres clear. The only chat I had


never raised was Ron Whitney. In those two seconds people had come


past me on my left and I thought, I never looked right and wondered if


someone had come under my arm pit and take on the medal. The Olympic


win is something I treasure as a high point because of the


integration of my body - spirit. Very touchy-feely. What does that


mean? It is something I believe in and it has been validated by America


doing research on resilience of people having lost limbs. And


integration of being fit enough of doing what you need to do, someone


who is not resilient, are they able to make decisions? The mind is clear


and the use of visualisation and in tension and you need supporters, so


be relationship. As an example of visualisation, in the buildup to the


Olympic final. Tell us about that. The co- favourite took a start and I


moved to the outside of the track. I saw this fellow take a stark and I


was drawn to the speed of movement. I watched him a round the bend and


he flew and my heart hit my throat and thought, gosh, he is a fast...


It did not destroy yourself belief? A recognised it was not helpful to


have negative thoughts like that and my thought was how do I best get


back, where I feel fast, flowing in my stride and I am, in the buildup


to this, starting 13 months before, I was running on a beach in the US


and it was a flat beach, students had gone back to high school and I


had a week before university started and I just had a pair of shorts on,


son on my back, I started running like a racehorse, landing in water.


I ran at 400 metre pace relay speed and I held it for what felt like


800m and then I thought, I am going to sprint flat out and the water was


splashing on my face and it was an awesome feeling. I went to the


infield, four o'clock Mexico time, the Evans open, so the infield was


wet and I imagine myself striding down the beach in bare feet and


within 30- 40 metres of this recalling that feeling, the use of


visualisation was really helpful but you need to keep it positive. You


remember almost every single detail, not only of the race but the


visualisation that preceded the race. You had a series of different


scenarios to deal with different circumstances on the track. Plan a-


plan Z. If you went to a job interview, you make be asking this


and what is my best response. I visualised late starts, on scares,


what is the best you can do? -- bomb scares. I raised one on one in my


mind and put them just outside me and if they started to get away from


me, I would go back on the blocks, if you ran to your potential could


you finish ahead? If I knew that I could, I then thought, fine and that


is what I did. You had to coaches, Billy Smith and Fred Houston. Billy


Smith toughen you up? He was the most brilliant technical hurdle


coach. He and Geoff Dyson who was in the national coach. He would explain


the logistics of the movement, the legs, Hants Ab position. -- hands.


Billy Smith did his master 's degree in physiology and exercise and he is


also very intuitive and he read me. I said how did you come up with


suggestions, and he said, I read your energy level and in my mind I


have the levels. I asked what the energy level is like. If you intend


to have a hard session... What is a hard session? If they call them


hands and knees and sessions where you may have to lose your lunch. And


you have to do that. Not every day. If you never go to the well, how are


you going to do it in the final was a as an educator and coach, how much


of what you have taken from your to coaches and distributed effectively


to your students and the world in a number of books you have written,


how much is that part of the modern sportsmen psychological build? My


life in teaching, I taught in school and university. And then 25 years in


management development on the skill of asking questions and listening


well and the art follow-on questions. Raise awareness and


responsibility. It is her responsibility, coach, manager,


parent. My most drought is how to help children find the champion in


themselves because that takes illustrations of what we do as


adults in Khartoum form and here are some alternatives instead of having


a child put up a defence. How can you ask a question that raises them


to take some ownership. The legacy project you are involved in. The


feelgood factor of the London Olympic and to build on that. Be the


best you can be is the slogan. How receptive are youngsters to that


kind of thinking? It is tremendous, when they are asked what are their


dreams? It does not have to be sport. Very little rarely are they


asked what they want to achieve in life. Even in the next lesson. It


should be body, mind, in motion, spirit. The participation levels at


the grassroots have been dropping CD to engage with these project and


others like it because you believe quite clearly in a grassroot sports?


Absolutely. We have to start when they are young. This is not just


about sport but whatever their dreams are but, certainly, health


and fitness is a vital part of the nation. What is your analysis of why


participation has dropped off? I think it was at the raid. They


increased from the games and then the rate has reduced. You get the


Wimbledon effect was not people rush out and play tennis for a while and


then they go to the gym and it has to be internalised. The benefit of


doing it. So it is ingrained in their lifestyle. How do you make


that a more permanent phenomenon and? Asking them questions of what


I'd your plans in your health and well-being and fit is and starting


them young. So that they actually want to do something to keep


themselves fitter and I are real believer in personal bests. It is


absolutely vital that way the person running last in the field, can you


beat what you did the last time and they may be the most improved and


they need to be recognised. That is the way forward to keeping people


motivated. We return to the Olympics and to Rio, you anticipating them


with enthusiasm or at? Enthusiasm stop I am an eternal optimist. --


dread. The current dilemma the sport is seen is only good to raise the


awareness and do something positive about it. David Hemery, thank you


very much indeed.


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