Leon Chevalier, fifth in front of his home crowd at the IRONMAN World Championship in Nice on Sunday, used the platform of triathlon’s biggest race to share an important message about doping in sport.
The 26-year-old sported a “Drugs Are Bad” T-shirt at the pre-race press conference on Friday, and three days later he would reveal the origins of the shirt and why he decided to wear it, with the 26-year-old taking a firm stance on drug cheats in long-course racing.
Asked by journalist Tim Heming at the post-race press conference about the T-shirt and doping in general, Chevalier said before the Collin Chartier doping scandal earlier in the year, he had been a little naive on the subject.
Humour and a strong message
Chevalier revealed that he had bought the top on the Las Vegas Strip after last year’s IRONMAN World Championship in St George and had been wanting to wear it to a press conference ever since. That moment came last Friday.
“I was coming back from St George last year at the IMWC and we had a stopover in Las Vegas and I was just walking around on the Strip and found this T-shirt and I thought that’s quite funny. I’ve wanted to wear it to press conferences for a while, but this is quite a big press conference and I don’t do many of them, so I thought it would be quite funny.
“Obviously this year we have had one big doping case in triathlon and unfortunately, I think I was a little naive, as I thought the sport was generally clean, as in the short time I’ve been in long-distance triathlon I’ve been able to get pretty close to the top.
“For me, that showed it’s realistic to get to the level of performance we see, so it’s a shame people feel the need to take shortcuts to win races and I got a lot of positive feedback for wearing that T-shirt. If it shows people that we as the athletes don’t want drugs in the sport then that can only be a good thing.”