What Wayne Bennett really thinks of Olympic drug cheats
WAYNE Bennett has nothing but admiration for the Olympic movement's ongoing war against drug cheats.
"The one thing I love about the Olympics is that it's always been about competing clean with no drugs,” the Brisbane and England rugby league coach told ARM Newsdesk.
Bennett has been glued to his television during the 16 days of competition in Rio this month while he continues to prepare his Broncos for their own Olympics, the NRL finals, in September.
"The Olympics motto is citius, altius, fortius (Latin for faster, higher, stronger),” said Bennett, a member of Australia's Sporting Hall of Fame for his amazing coaching feats and his contribution to rugby league and the community.
"The only way you can achieve those goals is by training hard, being disciplined and making a lot of sacrifices,” he added.
"That's what you most admire about these committed young people - they give up so much of their life to be there.
"It (doping) is so unfair on every other athlete who has paid a heavy price and done the right thing”
The eight-time premiership-winning mentor - who has coached Queensland and Australia and assisted New Zealand's rugby league team to glory, and will take over as England coach at the end of the year - says the fight for a level playing field should never stop.
He fully supports the hard-line stance of banning countries from competing at the Olympics if there is proof of systemic and sanctioned drug taking.
"I don't know enough about it, to be honest, but I do know if it is systematic and being encouraged by administrators then they should be banned,” said Bennett.
"I will support Australia, England and New Zealand. I want them all to have the same chances and compete in a drug-free environment.
"We all want that.”
Bennett has loved watching the Olympics since he was a young boy.
"As a little boy about six of seven I saw the Melbourne Olympics. I didn't know where Melbourne was - I was living in a small country town, I had no idea,” he said.
"It touched me then and it still touches me today.”
Names such as Betty Cuthbert, Shirley Strickland, Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose and the man who later player Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, introduced him to the Olympics.
"It touched me then and it still touches me today,” Bennett said.
"I am an addict... and you have the IQ these days and you can record things and watch it later.”