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Christie hopes people forgive Chambers

15 February 2008

Linford Christie Linford Christie
By Rex Gowar

British athletics should not dwell on the past sins of a competitor banned for doping but look ahead to winning medals, former Olympic 100-meter champion Linford Christie said on Friday.

Christie, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the steroid, nandrolone, in 1999 when he was semi-retired, was reluctant to give an opinion about the Dwain Chambers selection issue, but said: "Let it go, be positive."

"It's all about healing, we have to think positive," Christie, who has always denied taking performance enhancing drugs, told reporters.

"When you've got an injury, if you think negative you're never going to heal," added Christie, now a full-time trainer, at a news event organized by the sportswear company Puma.

Sprinter Chambers, having served a two-year doping suspension for a positive test in 2003, has won a place on Britain's team for next month's world indoor championships in Valencia, a fact selectors have had to reluctantly accept.

"We spend the majority of the time speaking about a minority of people when we should spend a majority of time taking about the majority," Christie said of the coverage of doping issues in the media.

The 1992 Barcelona Olympic gold medalist said athletes should not be drawn into discussing or acting on political issues like China's record on human rights or Beijing's pollution.

"An athlete's got one chance in four years [for an Olympic medal]. They're not politicians, they're performers.

"They put their minds exclusively on the goal of Olympic success, he added.

British athletes will do well in Beijing, Christie said, although this year's games in August will mostly be an important experience for young, up-and-coming athletes to prepare for the London Olympics in 2012.

He added the key was not to put pressure on oneself to do well and gave world 400-meter champion Christine Ohuruogu as an example.

"She will do well as long as she trains like a contender and not like a champion," said Christie.

"It will be good preparation for London... Some will realize what pressure really is."

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