Australian Olympic cyclist wins $175,000 in defamation case
Let's be careful what we say about drug cheating cyclists, people
Track sprinter Mark French has been awarded $175,000 in damages after he sued the Melbourne newspaper Herald and Weekly Times for defamation.
The former junior world champion was banned from cycling for two years in 2004 and also suffered a lifetime Olympics suspension because of doping offences but was cleared on appeal the following year.
He subsequently returned to cycling for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and came 4th and 13th in the team and individual sprints, respectively.
French, 25, sued the Herald and Weekly Times for damages in the Victorian Supreme Court over two articles published in the Herald Sun newspaper in August 2004, which he claims labelled him a disgraced drug cheat.
Earlier today, according to the Sydney Morning Herald Justice David Beach awarded French $175,000 in damages, plus costs.
Outside court his solicitor, Michael Main, said Mr French was happy with the outcome. "He was very relieved that the case was over and that he had been vindicated," the solicitor told reporters.
Mr French had previously also successfully sued radio station Triple M in 2008 for defamation after he was described on air as a "dirty, stinking, dobbing cyclist". In that case, he was awarded $350,000 in damages, plus costs.