Leon Reid, who was born to drug addict parents and grew up surrounded by heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs, says that all he wanted to do was get away from them.
The sprinter felt betrayed and deceived by his friend. This led to him being convicted for allowing crack cocaine to be produced in his home.
The collapse of his athletics career led him to compete for Ireland at the Olympics.
The 28-year old sees himself as the victim of naivety, and a breach of trust. He hopes that others, especially in the sport world, can learn from his story and avoid making similar mistakes.
Reid told Sky News that he had put his trust in an old training buddy, an old friend in the first interview he gave on the matter. “I feel that I have been taken advantage of in the peak of my career, particularly.”
Reid, who had moved between 14 foster homes in the past year, found stability and speed at the track.
After a traumatic childhood, running changed his life. Foster parents and a coach encouraged him to run. He found a new career.
His first major event was the 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The Commonwealth Games in Australia brought home a bronze medal in the 200m.
He changed his routine and was ready for the Olympics by 2020, but the pandemic had delayed him.
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A friend ‘used his apartment’ to manufacture crack cocaine
First lockdown prevented him continuing his training in South Africa. He was now back in England and returning to the flat in Bristol he had sublet to a friend.
Reid claims that while he was training, Romaine was using the apartment to make crack cocaine.
He insists that the first time he heard about it was after police arrived.
He was arrested in May 2020 as part of a South West Regional Organised Crime Unit operation to shut down an encrypted communication service.
Reid, on the Worthing beach, says: “It is obviously very upsetting.” It’s everything I tried to escape from (drugs) my entire life and being put back in that kind of that circle was just something that I never dreamed I would ever be involved with, ever.
The community sentence
He was able to attend the Olympics in Tokyo 2021, even though he was awaiting his trial. This is after he appealed against the Irish decision to deselect him.
Last year, he was convicted for allowing the use of his apartment for cocaine production and for receiving payment. Text messages revealed that it was PS500.
Reid was sentenced to community service. Hyman, who was found guilty of 18 crimes in the crackdown against his attempts to build a drug empire, received a 26-year sentence.
“I was training for the Olympics.” Reid remembered, “I was at the height of my career.” I wasn’t focused on my buddy. He was working out in the apartment. He said that it was about forex trading, and other things, but I have no interest.
How could Reid have missed the fact that the apartment was being used for cocaine production?
He replied, “He wanted to make sure I left the apartment.” “I was listed on the WADA drugs list. If I touched any door handle with traces of drug residue, I’d get a negative drug test, fail it, and lose my career. “I was not in a position to take that risk on any scale.”
“It destroyed both my career and my reputation”
Reid insists that he “was too nonchalant” about the situation while doing a favor for a friend and insisted: “I did not need the money.”
He was a successful man with a good status. After his conviction, they all abandoned him.
Last year, he was denied a return to the Commonwealth Games after Birmingham organizers deemed him a security threat.
He says, “It destroyed me career.” “And my reputation.”
The debt increased, and earnings were lost. Reid’s career was ruined by his criminal conviction. With the birth of his first child a month earlier, he realised that it had to be ended.
But he never seems angry during our hour together. Not even for the betrayal.
Reid: “Controlling emotions is important in sports, and it’s also important to do so in life.” “I don’t have the energy to get angry at every little thing,” Reid says.
“I’ve lived this nightmare for the last two years.” For me, it’s more crucial to get a fresh start and clear the air than to be angry at someone who is in prison.
He hopes to use this misfortune instead to help others who are still involved in professional sports. He is forming a mentoring business to allow him to leave his temporary job as telesales representative.
Reid says, “I have fought my demons for the past two-years.” I’ve had no-sleep nights and cried myself to sleep. “But now I look forward to the future.”