July 21 - Britain’s former Olympic 100 metres champion Linford Christie’s hopes of playing a major role in the build-up to London 2012 have been dealt another blow after he was today banned from driving for 15 months and fined £5,000 ($8,000) after being found guilty of careless driving.
Christie, now 51, crashed head-on into a taxi carrying a newlywed couple in May 2010 while driving the wrong way down a major road, leaving both cars crumpled.
Ben McQuire, who was defending Christie, claimed to Aylesbury Crown Court that disqualifying the 1992 Olympic gold medallist for even for a short time would limit his ability to prepare 20 athletes for the 2012 London Games.
McQuire claimed that 10 of the athletes were “real medal hopes”.
“His licence is an extremely important part of his life, and also he has to visit his children, who live in Buckinghamshire,” McQuire said.
But the judge dismissed the plea.
“It’s a very bad case of careless driving, you’ve acknowledged your responsibility for it, you drove on the wrong side of the road for at least 13-and-a-half seconds,” he said.
“That is a long time on the wrong side of the road, driving head on into traffic coming the other way, and a near head-on collision occurred as a result.”
McQuire told the court that on the day of the crash “there were difficulties in Mr. Christie’s personal life.”
Christie had told the court that he thought he was “going to die” following the late-night collision which left the two crumpled cars lying among twisted metal and debris on the carriageway.
But he managed to clamber out of the window of his badly-damaged Audi A8 before he fell to the ground, telling witnesses “Oh my God, it’s all my fault”, it was alleged.
The court heard that the wrecked taxi was propelled on to a grass verge while the dark-coloured Audi - with the personalised number plate 100 RUN - came to a halt in the middle of the A413 in Buckinghamshire.
Newly-married Peter Ashton had to be dragged from the vehicle, which was taking him to the Bull Hotel in nearby Gerrards Cross, along with his new wife Claire Lloyd-Ashton and her uncle Michael Burt.
The driving ban is the latest setback to Christie’s London 2012 ambitions.
He is currently coaching some of Britain’s leading international athletes including Olympic gold medallist Mark Lewis Francis, Commonwealth gold and silver medalist Katherine Endacott, European Championships silver medallist Conrad Williams, Commonwealth gold medalist Laura Turner and former European Under-23 champion Toby Sandeman.
But Christie is already banned from any official involvement with Team GB because he is a convicted drugs cheat as a result of testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone 12 years ago.
In 2008 Christie was also denied the opportunity to take part in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay when it passed through London because of his drugs-tainted past.