Thorpe Must Explain Test or Face Charges
MELBOURNE, Australia, April 1— Recently retired swimmer Ian Thorpe received word Saturday from Australian anti-doping authorities that he will face formal doping charges if he cannot explain an abnormal drug-test result from last May.
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Chairman Richard Ings said during a news conference Saturday night that ASADA had been prepared to notify the swimmer of the irregular result and seek an explanation next week but hastened the procedure when a French newspaper revealed the existence of the sample on its Web site Saturday.
Ings said reports that ASADA had closed the case were incorrect. Officials from the sport’s world governing body (FINA) announced Saturday that their scientific experts considered the sample an “adverse analytical result” and had lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport to clarify the issues involved in the case.
Ings said the sample in question showed a testosterone-to-epitestosterone level in excess of 4:1 with irregular results for other hormones.
The World Anti-Doping Agency code requires further examination of any sample with such a ratio. (A 1:1 ratio is considered normal.) Ings stressed that the sample showed irregularities only in natural hormones, indicating that no artificial testosterone was found.
The complexity of the sample explained the 10 months between the test and the notification of the athlete, Ings said. Thorpe will be entitled to be present when the second half of his sample, the B sample, is examined, as the code requires.
Ings declined to identify the swimmer, but several FINA and Australian sports officials said it was Thorpe. If formal charges are filed, he would face a possible twoyear ban.
Thorpe is expected to give a news conference Sunday.