Aussie cyclist wins payout for "Cheat" slur

Radio station forced to pay $350,000 plus costs

by Tony Farrelly   December 1, 2008 news


Australian track cyclists Mark French has won $350,000 payout from a radio station that called him a "dirty, stinking, dobbing cyclist". The comments were made on the Triple M station's breakfast show The Cage, (now defunct), by presenters James Brayshaw and Tim Smith. 

French, the four time junior world sprint champion, was implicated in a doping scandal in 2004 when cleaners found phials and syringes outside his room at the Australian Institute of Sport. French was accused of using equine growth hormone and initially banned from the sport for two years he was also given a lifetime ban from Olympic competition (which for a track cyclist is pretty much a career ender). 

The comments on the Triple M show followed the airing of a news documentary on the case in 2004. However, on appeal the Court for Arbitration in Sport threw the case against French out, revoked his ban and cleared him of all charges citing a lack of evidence.

As well as criticising French for cheating the the Cage presenters also branded him "un-Australian" for naming other cyclists allegedly involved in the doping scandal.

As well as paying French $350,000 the court also ordered Triple M to pay his $57,000 legal costs.