Bad Crack

When someone says they wanted to tell their sob story of how they almost wrecked their lives, or actually did wreck their lives – what they really mean is that they thought their story would make the headlines and make them a few quid in book sales. The latest celeb with a sensational story autobiography is Andre Agassi, with the sensational story being basically that he took drugs whilst playing tennis and got away with it – not exactly an origional exclusive in the world of sport and I wonder how many retired sports stars are banging on publishers doors with their drug taking stories.

I guess the biggest thing that will make Andre’s story different from the rest is that he actually failed a drug test and still got away with it through lying about how it got into his system, and subsequently the sports govening body (who carried out the test) swept it under the carpet. This highlights a few things for me – firstly, sports need their superstars to survive and prosper, Agassi was possibly the biggest star in tennis at the time and him getting a drug ban would been a huge blow for the sport. Everyone who gets caught taking drugs has all the excuses in the world and I’m sure the ATP weren’t completely taken in by Agassi’s story, but I bet his popularity and status were bigger factors, sometimes stars do become bigger than the sport – think Woods, Bolt, Beckham, Ronaldo, Federer – What damage could be done to their sports if they were discredited? That’s why sports have to protect their biggest assets.

What I don’t understand is the trend of celebs and sportspeople trying to cash in on their controversial stories and claiming that people can ‘learn’ from them. When in truth, somethings are best left unsaid and cause more damage than do good, Agassi was and is a hero to millions, including me, a role model – but what kind of role model is he now? How many young people will look at the fact that Agassi took drugs and still had a great career? In every sense it is the completely wrong message to be sending out, the only good thing that might come out of this is that the World Anti Doping Agency will tackle the governing bodies on doping and find out how many other cover ups there have been.

I was also really shocked at Agassi’s claim that he hates tennis and only did it to earn a living, I find that hard to believe as I don’t think any professional sportsperson could dedicate their life to something they didn’t enjoy doing.

It makes me laugh when people who’ve done bad in the past come out and start trying to preach like some wise budda type thing, when the only reason they’re telling the story is for personal gain. It’s like saying do as I say but not as I do, and it doesn’t wash with me. I don’t think Agassi has done himself any favours.

For my next book I might tell how I once slept with a goat whilst injecting heroine up my bum. I’m also going to write about buying the naming rights of St. James’ Park and calling it Stephen Miller’s Love Parlour.co.uk.

What I’ve Been Doing Lately

I’ve been pretty quiet on here for a while, and I know you’ll all be peeing in your pants with the anguish of not knowing what I’ve been doing. Well, I’ve been back in training (shock horror), this is my third week back and its going very well, tonight I did my first circuit for almost two years and that felt very good, despite me being totally spannered after the session.

After missing out on last year’s winter training, I am relishing being back in the thick of it, and for the first time since Beijing I feel like a proper athlete again. My hip dilemma is pretty much over as I am 99% sure I’ll not be having a hip replacement whilst I’m still a professional athlete – well, at least not until after London 2012. The main reason being that there are lots of risks surrounding surgery and the possible benefit to my performance is unknown, indeed there’s a 15% chance that if I have surgery I won’t be able to do physical activity at all, I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking. Every sportsperson has to put up with pain towards the end of their careers, and I’m no different.

I don’t think the last year has been a wasted year, it’s been a kind of gap year, I’ve still worked incredibly hard as I always do and I’ve competed pretty well, but I’ve just been ticking over with no real purpose or direction. I needed closure on my hip and that’s what I’ve got, I now know that it can’t be sorted easily and would take a potentially career threatening operation to fix, so I know where I stand and its a massive weight off my shoulders. It feels great to be able to look ahead and plan, I want to compete in London 2012 and I want to be competing for gold. The story begins here now, it has already started and its not stopping, I’m an unrelenting machine now and I will do everything possible to deliver my objective.

And everybody can heave a sigh of releif because no longer will I be moaning and groaning about my bloody hip!

Dear Old Mother

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Here’s a picture of my mother and coach, Ros Miller, recieving the Services to Disability Athletics award at the England Athletics Annual Awards Dinner at Villa Park on Saturday night. She came runner up last year but derservedly took home the champagne this time. I’m very biased of course but recognition like this has been a long time coming, my mum has been so dedicated not just to me but to the whole of disability athletics for over 15 years. She has been involved in identifying, coaching and developing both athletes and coaches – She herself has developed into a great coach, helping so many athletes to fulfil their potential, and is a fantastic role model for anyone wanting to get involved in disability athletics at any level. I was so proud when she won the award on Saturday, it was a nice change for my mum to have the lime light and me just be her guest on the night. I asked my mum how she felt about the award and she said ‘Its bloody marvellous!’.

As for me, I’m back into training for my first winter since Beijing, and it’s full on to the World Championships 2011, as I’m 99% sure I’m not going to have hip surgery…. Will explain more soon.

Beers Time!

Well into my off season now and boy do I know it, I’m feeling pretty much like crap which is what happens in the first couple of weeks without training, as your body is used to regular extreme exercise, so it kind of seizes up when that is taken away. Plus all the bugs and viruses you were able to shrug off with the daily adrenalin of training start having a field day. So I’m generally feeling groggy and run down, but that’s nothing lots of alcohol can’t solve.

With the end of the season comes fresh classification issues and calls of wrong classification decisions. I’ve almost lost the will to live with classification, I can hardly be bothered to argue about it anymore. The main reason that classification won’t be sorted out is because people are only ever bothered when it is detrimental to them. A bit like football managers complaining about refereeing decisions, if a decision is against you then you complain, if it was for you then you didn’t see it, if it doesn’t affect you then you don’t care. It’s the same with classification, athletes have competed in the wrong class for years but have gotten away with it for years. GB will complain about athletes from other countries and say they shouldn’t cheat, but in GB we have athletes possibly competing in the wrong classification but turn a blind eye because it benefits us, it has always been like that.

The whole culture of classification needs to change if we are going to improve classification, everyone in the world needs to work together and not just point and shout when it goes against you – I admit I’ve done it in the past and have found it doesn’t do anything. The sinister air around classification needs to go.