Former Great Britain sprinter, Bernice Wilson talks about being administered banned substances by her athletics coach and partner Dr George Skafidas. During her career, Bernice committed two Anti-Doping Rule Violations and served two subsequent bans from athletics.
Bernice first tested positive for anabolic steroids, testosterone and clenbuterol in an in-competition test in June 2011 which resulted in a four-year ban.
In February 2015, five months before her return to sport, Bernice was charged with a second Anti-Doping Rule Violation following her positive test for clomiphene. As a result of the substantial assistance she gave against her then coach, her sanction was reduced from 40 months to 10 months.
Bernice revealed that at the time of her first violation, Dr Skafidas had told her that she “won’t get anywhere without it [performance-enhancing drugs]” which led her to believe that “everybody’s taking them”. She duly took the banned substances her coach gave to her and received the maximum ban because of strict liability.
However, at the time of her second violation, Bernice was unaware of taking any banned substances and discovered that Dr Skafidas had been administering the substances without her knowledge.
On testing positive for a prohibited substance for the second time in her career, Bernice said: “I didn’t know what to do because I knew I was being so careful at that point. I started questioning myself, I started doubting myself and looking at everything I had taken.”
Because of Bernice’s evidence, Dr Skafidas faced nine Anti-Doping Rule Violations, including the administration of one or more prohibited substances to Bernice, and he received a lifetime ban from all sport in 2016.
Hear Bernice’s story in her own words below.
Bernice's story will feature on Sky Sports on 9 January at 11:30.