Run­ner kisses dop­ing ban good­bye

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - EARLY LEAD BY MARISSA PAYNE marissa.payne@wash­post.com Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/ear­lylead

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 test.

Judge John Charles Thomas ex­plained the full story in his case sum­mary re­leased last week, not­ing Roberts’s girl­friend, Alex Salazar, had taken the sub­stance as part of a med­i­ca­tion she pro­cured to treat a si­nus in­fec­tion while trav­el­ing 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.”

“[F]or 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 un­der­way.

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