Two-time U.S. Olympian Wallace Spearmon tested positive for a banned substance in July and accepted a three-month suspension, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Friday.
USADA accepted Spearmon’s explanation that the glucocorticosteroid Methylprednisolone was not being used as a performance enhancer, that he was taking the prescribed medication in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician.
“I was not trying to cheat,” Spearmon told Track and Field News, which has more details from the sprinter, who opened up with medical information and correspondence with USADA. “I made a mistake.”
The substance is classified as a Specified Substance, making Spearmon eligible for a reduced sanction.
Spearmon, 29, crossed the finish line third in the Beijing Olympic 200m won by Usain Bolt but was disqualified for stepping on the lane line to his inside in the final.
He came back to make the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and finished fourth in the 200m final in London, also won by his longtime friend Bolt.
Spearmon won World Championships 200m medals in 2005 (silver), 2007 (bronze) and 2009 (bronze). He dominated the head-to-head with Bolt early in their careers, before Bolt started breaking world records in 2008.
Spearmon was the sixth-fastest American over 200m this season, clocking 20.19 seconds at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on June 14.
“The fact that this has happened just—when you fail a drug test, regardless of what it is, people speculate,” Spearmon told Track and Field News. “It tarnishes everything you’ve done from the time that you’ve been running. People are going to have their thoughts about everything that you’ve done, everything that you’re going to do. … From now on, people will look at me like I’m a cheater.
“It stinks because sometimes people do make mistakes and sometimes when people do cheat they try to make it seem like they made a mistake. It’s hard to tell the difference.
“I take full responsibility for my actions.”