International cyclist and former doper to address NZ sporting community
World-renowned cyclist, former teammate of Lance Armstrong, and self-confessed doper, Tyler Hamilton, will share his captivating story at the Sport NZ conference.
One of the few cyclists to speak out about the widespread culture of doping in professional cycling, Hamilton tells an inspiring tale of truth and redemption.
His explosive exposé of doping in cycling is detailed in his best-selling book, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France, Doping Cover-Ups and Winning at All Costs.
The 44-year-old has been an outspoken advocate of the transformative power of telling the truth and the power of sporting culture to influence athlete behaviour.
Sport NZ and Drug Free Sport NZ have brought the whistle-blower to New Zealand to raise awareness of the need for athletes to break the “code of silence” around doping.
He will speak to more than 150 delegates at the annual sport sector conference in Auckland, which this year focuses on the experience of the “customer” in sport.
The chief executive of Drug Free Sport NZ, Graeme Steel, says it’s imperative that the sporting community learns from the experiences of athletes such as Hamilton.
“We need to understand and recognise what drives athletes competing at the elite level to risk their health, their career and their reputation by doping,” Mr Steel says.
“It’s important that we identify the triggers that lead athletes down this path so that we can better tailor our education programmes to equip our sportspeople with the values and strategies which will enable them to resist any pressure to dope.”
Sport NZ chief executive, Peter Miskimmin, says New Zealand sport has an enviable reputation for being clean, not just in terms of doping, but in all areas of sports integrity.
“But it would be naïve to think our sport system is isolated from or immune to the global threats facing sport, such as doping or match fixing. So we need to be vigilant. We need to learn from others’ experiences and Tyler Hamilton has an important story to tell,” he says.
Mr Miskimmin says Hamilton’s experience also highlights the importance of athlete’s having the courage to speak out against any attack on the integrity of their sport.
“We need to have systems in place and a culture that makes it easy and acceptable for athletes to speak up when they see or are exposed to something that’s wrong.”
Both Sport NZ and Drug Free Sport NZ are key members of the Sport Integrity Group that was set up in 2013 to safeguard New Zealand sport.
In addition to speaking at the Sport NZ conference, Hamilton will also attend meetings with Drug Free Sport NZ and the University of Otago.