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World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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Rafaela Silva, Brazil’s first gold medalist of Rio Olympics, banned 2 years

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, was banned two years and is in line to miss the Tokyo Olympics, according to multiple Brazilian reports.

Silva tested positive for a banned substance at August’s Pan American Games, it was previously announced. The substance, fenoterol, can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not produce a TUE, so she was stripped of a Pan Am gold medal.

Silva is appealing the suspension, according to Brazilian media.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference in September, reportedly saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance.

The 27-year-old backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships in August, after the Pan Am Games but before her positive test was announced. Silva said that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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61 weightlifting doping positives between 2008, 2012 Olympics

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Three more weightlifters failed retests of 2012 Olympic doping samples for steroids, bringing the total number of lifters to test positive from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics to a staggering 61 athletes, according to an Olympic historian.

Romanians Roxana Cocos (women’s 69kg silver medalist) and Razan Martin (men’s 69kg bronze medalist) and Turkey’s Erol Bilgin (eighth in men’s 62kg) had urine samples from 2012 retested and come back positive for metabolites of stanozolol, according to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

That makes 35 total weightlifters who were entered in the 2012 London Games to fail drug tests from that event, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon, who also counts 26 positives from the 2008 Beijing Games. A total of 34 of those lifters were original medalists, according to Mallon, though the IOC has not announced potential medals stripped for Cocos and Martin.

In the men’s 94kg event alone in London, all three medalists and six of the top seven finishers were disqualified, all for anabolic steroids. Thirteen of the 15 weight classes in London have at least one disqualification, with one clean men’s event and one clean women’s event left.

The IOC reduced the size of the weightlifting competition for the Tokyo Games. The new rules are a way of ensuring the countries most to blame for weightlifting’s predicament pay the heaviest price.

In April 2018, the IWF published new rules which limit countries to one male and one female entry in Tokyo if they have had more than 20 doping cases in the sport since July 2008. That list of countries includes Russia.

The new rules also force athletes to compete in at least six major events in the 18-month Olympic qualifying period. In the past, some lifters have barely competed ahead of the Olympics, leading to suspicions they were avoiding doping tests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(h/t @OlympicStatman)

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