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Olympian failed drug test due to ‘frequent, passionate’ kissing

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Gil Roberts, a U.S. Olympic 400m runner, successfully argued that kissing his girlfriend led to him unknowingly ingesting a banned substance and failing a March drug test.

Roberts, a Rio 4x400m relay gold medalist, was provisionally suspended in May after both his A and B samples from a March 24 test came back positive. He had a small amount of the well-known banned masking agent probenecid in his system.

On June 20, an arbitrator cleared Roberts of wrongdoing, allowing him to compete at the USATF Outdoor Championships two days later. Roberts finished second in the 400m in a personal-best time, qualifying for the world championships in London in August.

Roberts, who has never before tested positive, argued that he ingested probenecid through “frequently and passionately” kissing his girlfriend in the day(s) leading up to his March 24 test, according to an arbitration decision.

On March 14, Roberts’ girlfriend received a sinus infection medication labeled Moxylong in semi-rural India.

She continued to take the medicine after arriving in the U.S., including on March 24, about three hours before Roberts’ out-of-competition drug test.

The arbiter decision document stated that Roberts and his girlfriend kissed between the time she took the medication and when Roberts provided a urine sample, including when Roberts told his girlfriend that he was leaving the room to be tested.

“Roberts could not count the number of times they kissed between 1 p.m. and the doping control officer’s arrival [at 4:07],” the decision read. “He had no idea that kissing his girlfriend could lead to his ingesting a prohibited substance. When he kissed her he did not remember the taste of medicine in her mouth.”

Roberts’ girlfriend later googled Moxylong and found that it contained probenecid.

An arbitrator accepted Roberts’ story.

He was not banned, in part to consideration of previous, similar cases of tennis player Richard Gasquet and pole vaulter Shawn Barber failing drug tests for cocaine after kissing women who had used the drug.

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Michael Phelps still has ‘no desire’ to come back

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Michael Phelps says he has “no desire” to return to competitive swimming, but he is eager to stay involved with the sport and cheer on those who follow in his enormous wake.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press while promoting a healthy pet food campaign, Phelps said he is excited about the birth of his second child and numerous opportunities away from the pool.

It was around this time four years ago when Phelps got serious about ending his first retirement, but he now seems content with his decision to step away again after the Rio Olympics.

His wife, Nicole, is about four months pregnant. The couple already has a 16-month-old son, Boomer.

“I’ve got no desire, no desire to come back,” the 32-year-old Phelps said flatly.

Phelps has attended a handful of swimming meets since the Rio Games, where the winningest athlete in Olympic history added to his already massive career haul by claiming five gold medals plus a silver. A few months ago, he conceded to the AP that he was eager to see how he would feel about a possible comeback after this year’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Turns out, it had no impact.

Phelps said watching others compete “truly didn’t kick anything off or spike any more interest in coming out of retirement again.”

He is eager to follow the development of his heir apparent, Caeleb Dressel, who emerged as the sport’s newest star by winning seven gold medals at Budapest. The 21-year-old Floridian joined Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to accomplish that feat at a major international meet.

“I’m happy Caeleb decided to go off this year instead of last year,” Phelps joked. “I’m kind of happy to see him swimming so well when I’m not there.”

With Dressel and Katie Ledecky now leading the American team, the U.S. is expected to remain the world’s dominant swimming country heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Even without Phelps.

“It’s time to kind of move on,” he said, “and watch other people come into their own.”

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Dutch cyclist returns from horrific Rio crash to win world title

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Dutch road cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten came back from this dramatic Rio Olympic crash to win her first world title on Tuesday, taking the time trial in Bergen, Norway.

“This one is really beautiful without the crash in Rio, but this makes the story really, really special,” an emotional van Vleuten said. “Actually, I still cannot believe it. … This season I’m surprising myself what I can do. To be world champion in the time trial, I never thought I’d be able of this.”

Van Vleuten, 34, covered the 13-mile course in 28 minutes, 50.35 seconds, topping countrywoman Anna ven der Breggen by 12 seconds.

Australian Katrin Garfoot took bronze, 19.02 seconds ahead of Chloe Dygert, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist in track cycling. American Amber Neben, the defending champion, was 11th.

Full results are here.

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title.

Van Vleuten wasn’t out long. She raced at last October’s world championships, placing a career-high fifth in the time trial. She then won La Course in France, a two-day race, in July.

“To be an athlete is to have really ups and downs,” van Vleuten said Tuesday. “Sometimes really downs, but the downs make the ups even more beautiful, I think.”

Van Vleuten’s first celebratory act Tuesday was to climb past two barriers and into her mother’s arms.

“Last year my mum watched the Rio race on television, it was her birthday and she was with lots of my family, so it was a really hard day for her,” Van Vleuten said in a news conference, according to Cyclingnews.com. “My father died in 2008, and so it was really special to have her here and celebrate the good things of cycling together. We’ve dealt with bad things together in the past, so it’s important to be really happy and proud to celebrate and to also remember my father.”

The world championships continue Wednesday with the men’s time trial at 7 a.m. ET on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBCSports.com/live.

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