Commonwealth Games Australia’s chief executive officer Craig Phillips is the most capped Olympic team official in Australian sporting history and has 35 years’ experience in the sports industry.
In Sport Integrity Australia’s second edition of its podcast ‘On Side’ we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the sporting calendar, on planning the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and on sports very survival.
We also discuss the dangers of supplements with Australian marathon runner Cassie Fien, who was banned for nine months after the supplement she was taking unknowingly contained a banned substance, and talk to Australian women’s 100m record holder Melissa Breen on breaking that 20-year record.
Finally, our athlete educator Annabelle Cleary answers the question ‘Is there a minimum age for being tested and being banned from sport?’
While Phillips says his organisation hasn’t felt a commercial impact from COVID just yet, he admitted COVID-19 has disrupted 2022 Commonwealth Games preparations (resulting in three athlete villages) and was concerned about the solvency of some Commonwealth sports.
He was also enthused about a packed calendar which will see the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Winter Games, various world championships and the Commonwealth Games all held within 12 months.
“It’s never happened ever, for anybody, at any time,” Phillips says. “We see this wonderful opportunity for Australian sport…for Australians to get behind athletes wearing that green and gold for that 12-month window.”
Australian marathon runner Cassie Fien was preparing for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games before she was banned for nine months after taking a supplement. She talks about the devastating moment she was told she was banned and the impacts that ban had on her career and her life.
“I couldn’t eat or drink or anything for nearly 3 days,” she said after being told her sample contained a prohibited substance. “I guess I felt sort of numb, and like something had been ripped out of me. I couldn’t really, I didn’t know how I was going to keep living.”
She says her sanction had a far-reaching impact.
“It didn’t just affect me, it affected my friends, my family. It’s not just the athlete that suffers, it’s everyone around them. If I could just reach out to even one athlete to just go, ‘I probably don’t need to take what I’m taking’, then that’s my job done.”
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