Madisyn Cox, the 2017 World bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley, sued an affiliate of a supplement company after saying its contaminated multivitamins caused her to fail a drug test and get suspended last year.
Cox’s ban was reduced from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she argued that the positive test was due to a legal Cooper Complete multivitamin that had been contaminated. The company, Cooper Concepts, Inc., said Tuesday afternoon that it had not received a lawsuit.
“However, when we learned about this issue we were stunned and angered and removed that vitamin immediately from our product line,” it said in a statement. “We are saddened and disappointed for Madisyn Cox and the time she missed in competition.”
She was still forced to miss the 2018 U.S. Championships, the qualifying meet for the two biggest international events before the 2020 Olympics. Cox could not qualify for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships or this summer’s world championships.
Cox said she had taken the multivitamin for seven years, listing it on doping-control forms since entering the drug-testing pool in 2014, and passed more than 20 drug tests in that span without incident.
“Cox was forced to miss several major events and to return fees, grants and prizes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and was unable to pursue lucrative corporate sponsorships,” Cox’s legal team wrote in a press release Tuesday. “In addition to that lost income, Ms. Cox and her family incurred considerable expense in hiring several medical and legal experts to seek the source of the banned substance and a complete revocation of her suspension.”
Cox originally thought she ingested the banned substance Trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina, through tap water.
She failed a drug test Feb. 5, 2018, and was originally banned four years. That punishment was cut in half after a FINA panel agreed that Cox did not intend to dope, though it did not accept that tap water was the definite source.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the ban to six months after Cox produced multiple bottles of the multivitamin, and the tablets were found to have four nanograms per tablet of the banned substance.
“The shock, pain and emotional trauma she has bravely faced are almost incalculable, and we will be doing everything possible to gain justice for Madisyn and her family,” Cox’s attorney said in the release. “We also hope to force this company and this industry to do a better job in assuring the purity of their products and the proper labeling of each product’s ingredients.”
Cox ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 200m IM this year, winning the event at a Pro Series stop in Richmond last week.
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