London '12 chief: Life ban for cheats
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe reiterated the call for life bans for drug cheats Friday, a day after LaShawn Merritt was cleared to defend his 400-meter Olympics title next year.
Merritt was cleared to compete for selection to Team USA on Thursday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned a rule passed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that made athletes ineligible for Olympic competition if they had received a doping ban of six months or more.
Merritt received a reduced suspension of 21 months by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in October last year after testing positive for a banned steroid, contained in a sexual-enhancement product, on three occasions.
Coe, the chair of the London 2012 organizing committee, added his name Friday to a wave of opposition to the CAS judgment. He said he was unswayed from his support of a zero tolerance policy.
"This is the easiest question for me to answer," Coe said, when asked for his stance in the wake of the ruling. "I am unreconstructed on this. I'd have a life ban."
Merritt was the leading name among 33 athletes listed by America's anti-doping agency USADA as eligible for the London Games as a result of Thursday's ruling.