Triple jumper Phillips Idowu was banned from the road yesterday after being caught almost two and a half times over the drink-drive limit at breakfast time.
The 2008 Olympic silver medallist got behind the wheel of his white Land Rover after a ‘domestic incident’ at his home.
Police were called to his house around 9.30am and arrested the 34 year-old athlete less than a mile away.
The father-of-two, who lives with his girlfriend, failed a breath test with a reading of 96mgs alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mgs.
Magistrates heard that Idowu was heading to a nearby hotel after fleeing the argument in Epping, Essex on September 20.
Idowu, who flopped at the London 2012 Olympics admitted drink driving and was banned from driving for two years by magistrates at Chelmsford, Essex.
Chair of the bench Jeremy Bachelor told him: “I don’t need to tell you how seriously courts around the country take these offences.
“If you drive while disqualified you will be committing a serious offence and may be sent to prison or face further disqualification.
“If you attend drink driving rehabilitation courses you will be able to reduce your disqualification by six months.”
Jo Life, defending, told the court Idowu hadn’t considered “what the best way would be to get away from the property.”
She said: “Mr Idowu was stopped early in the morning.
“He had been out the night before with some friends and he made some arrangements to be dropped back at his home in Epping.
“He was stopped after nine when he had just been in bed and he had to leave the house in a hurry.
“He was only driving a short distance when he was stopped. He was breathalysed at the roadside and at the police station.
“I’m not asking to put forward a special reason, but there was a set of circumstances that required he left his home.
“He had already made arrangements to be taken home the night before.
“He didn’t have time to really consider what the best way would be to get away from the property. He puts forward a guilty plea.
“He had left in a hurry and would probably have gone into the hotel that is just at the end of the road but he hasn’t given the matter much thought.”
After the case Essex Police confirmed they had been called to a domestic incident at Idowu’s home and stopped him nearby.
A spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a domestic argument at a property in Crossing Road shortly before 9.30am.
“A man had left the scene prior to police arriving and was subsequently arrested.”
Unemployed Idowu asked magistrates to give him a fine rather than community service as he had a job opportunity abroad beginning next month.
But the court ignored his plea and ordered him to complete 50 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months and pay a fine of #145 and #85 costs
Idowu, who has no income and is living off savings, was told his disqualification can be cut by six months if he completes a driving rehabilitation course.
Ms Life added: “He is an Olympic athlete who has represented our country and has been an ambassador for a charity.
“His involvement with Comic Relief raised a huge sum of money, both in this country and abroad.
“He’s very concerned with putting something back into the community and he’s going round to schools and encouraging school children to take part in sport.”
Idowu won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and World Championship gold in Berlin the following year.
But he was heavily criticised for underperforming at the London Olympic games with
Athletics coach Charles van Commenee(corr) described him as the “invisible man” prior to the tournament.
While the triple jumper stopped short of retiring from the track earlier this year he did say he was taking an extended break from athletics “for the foreseeable future”.
It meant that there was no triple jumpers in the British team that flew to Moscow for the World Championships in August.
Instead Idowu made an appearence on cooking show Celebrity Masterchef where he advanced to the second round of the competition before being sent home.
After being sent home, he said: “I can’t wait to get back in the sandpit – the kitchen is too stressful.
“I am a lot more confident in my ability to hop, step and jump.”