Olympic kayak champion banned for doping

Tate Smith
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SYDNEY (AP) — Olympic kayak gold medalist Tate Smith of Australia will miss next year’s Rio Summer Games after receiving a two-year doping ban for steroid use.

The Australian Anti-Doping Agency announced Wednesday that Smith was given the suspension on Oct. 2 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive to the anabolic steroid stanozolol in an out-of-competition test in Hungary on July 21-22 last year.

Smith, 33, was a member of the Australian K4 team that won gold at the 2012 London Games. His two-year ban was backdated to September 8 last year, when his provisional ban started.

Smith unsuccessfully argued that stanozolol was in the water where he had trained that it somehow entered his system, either through drinking the water or by penetrating his skin while he was training.

The CAS ruled that Smith failed to establish how the substance had entered his system and noted that three other training colleagues were tested at the same time and place as Smith, and these samples had been clear of any prohibited substances.

Australian Canoeing chief executive Greg Doyle said while Smith was a member of the gold medal-winning K4 crew in London, he’s confident that the result is unrelated to the doping charge.

“All the K4 members have all gone through rigorous doping procedures … we’re very comfortable with our other team members that there’s nothing untoward,” Doyle told Australian Associated Press. “We feel very comfortable that it’s just Tate and it’s unfortunate. While it’s disappointing, that’s the way it is and we maintain a zero tolerance to any doping.”

Despite Smith’s ban, Doyle maintains there will be a K4 crew to defend the Olympic title in Rio, with the Games to be held from Aug. 5-21.