Christine Ohuruogu SteroidsBritish printer Christine Ijeoma Ohuruogu should have been touted as heroine back in her homeland, but that is not the case. Her triumphs in the track are overshadowed by her three – yes, not one but three – missed doping tests.

Her missed doping tests calls for the question: Did she win the Olympic gold through legitimate means?

Ohuruogu, who specializes in the 400 meters, is currently the most successful and probably the most notorious track athlete in Great Britain today. She currently holds the Commonwealth, World and Olympic titles in said event. That’s some accomplishment for a girl of 24 years, yet the Britons are having second thoughts of raining praises on Ohuruogu. Many ask: Does she deserve to be the poster girl for the 2012 Summer Games London.

Based on the accounts of several newspapers in her homeland the answer to that big Q could be a big NO. One British newspaper has the headline “New golden girl Christine Ohuruogu will be forever tarnished”, which sort of sums up the public’s image of the track champ.

Ohuruogu beat the favorite Sanya Richards of the USA with her time of 49.62 making the Nigerian-born Ohuruogo as the first British woman to top the event and only the fourth to earn a gold medal on the track. But, still there are the three missed doping tests.  The Times provides details of those missed tests.

Ohuruogu missed three random drug tests between October 2005 and July 2006. Athletes have to say where they will be for an hour every day for five days a week; a UK Sport tester can then turn up at the allotted place unannounced.

After the third missed test, Ohuruogu received a one-year ban from the International Association of Athletics Federations, athletics’ governing body, and had her British Sport Lottery funding stopped. She took her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but it upheld the ban while stating that there had been “no suggestion that she is guilty of taking drugs” and that “this case can be viewed in all the circumstances as a busy young athlete being forgetful”.

Ohuruogu was also banned for life from the Olympics because of a British Olympic Association bylaw barring anyone with a doping conviction from representing Britain. Ohuruogu completed her one-year exile only three weeks before the World Championships in Japan last year, where she made a remarkable comeback by winning the 400 metres. She then overturned her BOA ban on appeal. The independent Sports Dispute Resolutions Panel agreed that there had been significant mitigating circumstances.

Her reason for missing the second test was that she was at home finishing an article for a charity newspaper when she should have been at Northwick Park, North London. Ohuruogo said she spoke to the tester, who told her she was allowed to wait for only an hour, when it would have taken the athlete 90 minutes to make the trip.

The final straw came when she was not at the Mile End stadium when a tester turned up. “We went to train at Mile End but there was a school sports day so we made a last-minute change and went to Crystal Palace,” she said.

The article continues that it remains to be seen whether Ohuruogu will be honored the way past female track champions were recognized – Ann Packer is an MBE, Sally Gunnell an OBE and Kelly Homes is a Dame.

If you asked us, we think she deserves some kind of recognition from the British Empire. If Elton John was knighted by singing “candle in the wind” then, certainly, Ohuruogu merits a “Dame” before her name.

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