A look at five prominent Canadian doping incidents
Canoeist Laurence Vincent Lapointe is the latest Canadian Olympic medal hopeful to get caught up in a doping controversy. She has tested positive for the banned substance Ligandrol — which can help build and repair muscles — a year out from the Tokyo Games.
Here’s a look at five previous doping incidents involving Canadian Olympic athletes:
Ben Johnson — Sprinter
In a case that made headlines worldwide, Johnson tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol after winning the 100 metres at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a then-record time of 9.79 seconds. He lost his Olympic title and his record was voided.
After initially denying any wrongdoing, Johnson admitted to doping in the 1989 Dubin Inquiry, a Canadian government investigation into drug abuse. He was also relieved of his 100-metre title from the 1987 world championships in Rome after admitting to taking steroids while preparing for that race.
Ross Rebagliati — Snowboarder
Rebagliati’s giant slalom gold medal from the 1998 Nagano Games was rescinded after traces of THC, the main psychoactive element of cannabis, were found in his bloodstream following a drug test. THC was not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances at the time, and Rebagliati argued the substance was the result of secondhand smoke. The decision to strip Rebagliati of his medal was eventually overturned.
Silken Laumann — Rower
One of Canada’s most respected amateur athletes, Laumann suffered a brief hit to her reputation when pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in many over-thecounter cold medications, was found in her system after she helped Canada win a gold medal in quadruple skulls at the 1995 Pan American Games. The Canadian squad was stripped of its medal, but Laumann made a case that the test result was due to a botched prescription by team doctors, and she was not suspended by rowing’s international governing body.
Pseudoephedrine has had an inconstant status among banned substances. It was removed from the list in 2004 before WADA reintroduced it in 2010.
Eric Lamaze — Equestrian
Lamaze lost his spot on Canada’s equestrian team for the 1996 Olympics after receiving a fouryear ban for a positive cocaine test. His ban was overturned a year later when an arbitrator ruled that his personal story of growing up around drugs was a mitigating factor. Lamaze has since become one of Canada’s most decorated jumpers.
Ryder Hesjedal — Cyclist
The only Canadian to win a Grand Tour event when he captured the Giro d’Italia in 2012, Hesjedal was caught up in cycling’s famous doping scandal that made headlines when Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency alleged Armstrong was the ringleader of an extensive doping program involving erythropoietin, used to stimulate the creation of oxygen-rich red blood cells.
Without confirming any allegations, the Olympian said in a statement: “I sincerely apologize for my part in the dark past of the sport. I will always be sorry.”