Olympian ar­gues pas­sion­ate kiss­ing led to failed test

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MARISSA PAYNE The Wash­ing­ton Post

A kiss is just a kiss, un­less, ap­par­ently, that kiss is fol­lowed by a dop­ing test. In that case a kiss, or rather sev­eral kisses, can get you in trou­ble with the U.S. Anti-Dop­ing Agency.

That’s what hap­pened to U.S. Olympic run­ner Gil Roberts, who an ar­biter re­cently ruled had in­gested the mask­ing agent probenecid un­know­ingly by “fre­quently and pas­sion­ately” kiss­ing his girl­friend just hours be­fore his March 24 dop­ing test.

Judge John Charles Thomas ex­plained the full story in his case sum­mary re­leased on July 10, not­ing Roberts’s girl­friend, Alex Salazar, had taken the sub­stance as part of a med­i­ca­tion she pro­cured to treat a si­nus in­fec­tion while trav­el­ling in In­dia. But be­cause she had trou­ble swal­low­ing pills, she took the med­i­ca­tion by just swal­low­ing the pow­der kept in the cap­sules.

Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments, Roberts, 28, had no idea Salazar was tak­ing the med­i­ca­tion or that she had taken the med­i­ca­tion while “they kissed and ‘chilled out’” the after­noon of March 24. More­over, Roberts did not re­mem­ber tast­ing medicine or any­thing bizarre when he smooched his girl­friend. He did re­mem­ber, how­ever, that the two kissed a lot.

“Roberts could not count the num­ber of times they kissed be­tween 1 p.m. and the dop­ing con­trol of­fi­cer’s ar­rival (at 4:07 p.m.),” Thomas wrote.

Af­ter con­fer­ring with two dif­fer­ent doc­tors, the ar­biter of­fi­cially ruled “this was not a case of in­ten­tional dop­ing.”

“For Roberts it must have been like light­ning out of a clear blue sky for him to learn that by kiss­ing his girl­friend this time that he was ex­pos­ing him­self to a pro­hib­ited sub­stance,” Thomas added.

USADA ac­cepted the rul­ing on June 24, re­scind­ing calls to ban the ath­lete, who went on to com­pete at the USATF Out­door Cham­pi­onships that were cur­rently un­der­way.

Roberts, was part of Team USA’s win­ning 4×400-me­ter re­lay team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, fin­ished sec­ond in the 400, and will com­pete in Au­gust at the world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

While Roberts’s story may sound unique, this is not the first time kiss­ing has led an ath­lete to fail a dop­ing test.

In 2009, French ten­nis pro Richard Gas­quet was cleared for hav­ing co­caine in his sys­tem af­ter ev­i­dence showed he in­gested a trace amount of the sub­stance af­ter kiss­ing a woman at a night­club the night be­fore.

Cana­dian pole vaulter Shawn Bar­ber was also cleared af­ter fail­ing a dop­ing test for co­caine when he proved he ac­ci­den­tally in­gested trace amounts of the sub­stance af­ter kiss­ing an es­cort he hired the night be­fore.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.