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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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MORE: Olympic 400m champ to miss worlds

Ski jumping World Cup season kicks off in Poland

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The World Cup ski jump season opens Friday with men’s team and individual events in Wisla, Poland.

The host country had three of the top five jumpers in the overall standings last year. Defending champion Kamil Stoch placed third, Piotr Zyla was close behind in fourth, and Dawid Kubacki was fifth.

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi dominated last year’s competition, finishing with 2,085 points to 1,349 for runner-up Stefan Kraft of Austria, the 2017 World Cup champion.

Kobayashi’s performance was a dramatic improvement over his previous season, when he finished no higher than sixth in any individual competition and was 24th overall. Last year, he had 15 wins and 23 podium finishes in 30 World Cup events, though he only managed fourth and 14th in the two world championship events.

The top American last season, Kevin Bickner, finished 51st overall, a drop from 39th the year before. He was 18th and 20th in the 2018 Olympic jumps.

Women’s World Cup action begins Dec. 6-8 in Lillehammer, Norway.

NBC Sports Gold will broadcast World Cup action throughout the season. This weekend, the qualifying jumps will air at noon ET Friday, the team event starts at 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday, and the individual competition is at 6 a.m. Sunday.

MORE: Full ski jumping broadcast schedule

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Snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

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Jake Burton Carpenter, the pioneer who brought snowboarding to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, has died at 65.

He died Wednesday night in Burlington, Vermont, according to an email sent to the staff of the company he founded. Carpenter had emailed his staff this month saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

Carpenter quit his job in New York in 1977 to form the company now known simply as Burton. His goal was to advance the rudimentary snowboard, then called a “Snurfer,” which had been invented by Sherman Poppen a dozen years earlier.

It worked, and more than four decades later, snowboarding is a major fixture at the Winter Games and snowboards are as common as skis at resorts across the globe.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff.

It is virtually impossible to avoid the name “Burton” once the snow starts falling at any given mountain around the world these days. The name is plastered on the bottoms of snowboards, embroidered on jackets, stenciled into bindings.

At a bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, not far from where snowboarding celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Olympics last year, there was a wall filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia — as sure a sign as any of the global reach of a company founded in his garage in Londonderry, Vermont.

The company sponsored pretty much every top rider at one time or another — from Shaun White to Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim.

Carpenter watched all his champions win their Olympic golds from near the finish line, never afraid to grind away in the mosh pit of snowboarders and snowboarding fans that he helped create.

In an interview in 2010, he said he was happy with how far his sport had come, and comfortable with where it was going.

“I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said. “We’re doing something that’s going to last here. It’s not like just hitting the lottery one day.”

Lacy said details about the celebration of Burton’s life would be coming soon but, for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”

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