Wheelchair athlete Adams aiming for Beijing
Two-year ban for failed drug test overturned by arbitrators
Jeff Adams says he is going to get back into training in an attempt to make it to the Beijing Paralympic Games.
And he's getting a financial incentive from his lawyer.
The Canadian wheelchair athlete, who was exonerated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and had his two-year suspension for failing a drug test in 2006 eliminated in a decision made last Friday, told a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday he will get back on the track.
Tim Danson, his lead lawyer, told the media gathering if Adams makes it to Beijing, he will take $100,000 off his legal fees accumulated over the last two years. And if Adams wins a medal of any kind, another $50,000 would come off.
"If Jeff gives everything he's got to overcome the very adversity he's lectured about, and qualifies to represent Canada at the Paralympics, my partners have agreed to reduce my legal fees," said Danson.
In a later interview with CBCSports.ca, Danson said the fees from his office — a total that includes the work of other staffers, plus paying legal experts and ancillary costs — came to $733,000.
He said the almost 1,300 billable hours were nowhere near what government and Sport Canada departments have billed on the other side.
Danson said he believes Sport Canada owes Adams the $36,000 he lost in government funding during the time of the suspension.
Adams' comments came a day after the arbitration report became public.
The two-year suspension for failing a drug test at an Ottawa marathon event in 2006, if it had stood, would have been lifted a month before this summer's Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.
In June of last year, Adams said the positive test was the result of a contaminated catheter, used after an incident at a Toronto nightclub on May 21, 2006, seven days before the Ottawa race.
Eligible again for funding
The court of arbitration decision agreed, finding in favour of Adams on all important points by ruling that no doping infraction had taken place. The court of arbitration immediately lifted his ban and he was again eligible for funding from Sport Canada.
Adams claimed an unknown woman inserted cocaine into his mouth while they were sitting together at the Vatikan Club, a Toronto nightspot. Shortly after, he used a catheter. Later that week at Ottawa, Adams used the same catheter to provide A and B samples for his urine test and that's how cocaine showed up.
A three-man panel for the arbitration court found Adams' story to be true, and that the failed test was because of the previously contaminated catheter. The panel added the athlete had been the victim of an assault at the bar and could not be held negligent or at fault.
"When you are under suspension, you have zero access to funding, zero access to training with other athletes and zero access to coaching," Adams said. "And that's an enormous barrier."
He added there have already been numerous offers from other elite wheelchair athletes to train with them and help get his times down for the 1,500 metres.
That will mean putting up two elite times under three minutes, two seconds — a tough task, Adams said — or one under 3:05 and then being nominated to the team by Sport Canada.