By STEPHANIE RUBEC -- Ottawa Sun
The head of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports defended his organization yesterday for twice barring equestrian Eric Lamaze from the Olympics for drug use.
"It isn't easy being a judge," said Victor Lachance.
Lachance defended the integrity of the doping control program and said the Centre is open to a review of its actions in the case.
"(But) I don't want this to cause the program to become so overly restrictive that we can't accommodate athletes," he said.
Lamaze and his lawyer, Tim Danson, have called for a complete investigation of the Centre's actions in his case.
Danson has accused the Centre of ruling too hastily against his client when banned substances were twice found in the equestrian show jumper's urine.
Lamaze took a nutritional supplement after clearing it with the Centre, only to test positive for two banned substances on Aug. 7.
He was barred from his sport on Aug. 18, but the Centre agreed to review its decision and cleared Lamaze when it determined the manufacturer had not included the banned substances on its ingredient list.
Lachance said his organization showed leniency by giving Lamaze extra time to prove his case and then by taking the unusual step of overturning its own decision.
"At that point the CCES thought it was doing the right thing and we haven't changed our minds on this point," he said.
Lachance said the equestrian knew his case was under review, but took cocaine anyway, which showed up during another set of tests.
Lamaze had been barred from the 1996 Olympic Games for cocaine use.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Olympic Association excluded Lamaze from the equestrian team participating in Sydney.
Lachance supports the COA's decision, saying had Lamaze been allowed to participate, it would have sent the wrong message to hard-working Canadian athletes.