Idi­tarod clears four-time cham­pion in dog-dop­ing scan­dal

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - SPORTS -

AN­CHOR­AGE, Alaska — Idi­tarod of­fi­cials have cleared a four-time cham­pion of any wrong­do­ing in a dog-dop­ing scan­dal that fol­lowed the sled dog race last year.

Of­fi­cials for the 1,610 kilo­me­tre Idi­tarod Trail Sled Dog Race is­sued a state­ment this week ab­solv­ing musher Dal­las Seavey of any in­volve­ment in the drug­ging of his dogs, the An­chor­age Daily News re­ported.

Four of Seavey’s dogs tested pos­i­tive for the opi­oid painkiller tra­madol, a banned sub­stance, fol­low­ing his sec­ond-place fin­ish in March 2017.

“We met with him mul­ti­ple times and there was (suf­fi­cient) ev­i­dence to con­clude he didn’t have any­thing to do with it,” said Mike Mills, pres­i­dent of Idi­tarod’s board of di­rec­tors.

Mills de­clined to say what that ev­i­dence was.

“It’s a hard sit­u­a­tion to un­tan­gle, but we’re com­fort­able that we made the right de­ci­sion,” Mills said.

Seavey said he pre­sented a “very com­pelling case” to the race board. After the test re­sults were made pub­lic last year, he had sug­gested that some­one sab­o­taged his team.

“I can’t prove what did hap­pen, but we can strongly prove what didn’t hap­pen,” Seavey said.

Seavey said he can’t share of all the in­for­ma­tion about the case, but he noted that one of his ar­gu­ments dealt with the tim­ing of the drug tests. The dogs had high lev­els of the drug im­me­di­ately be­fore the test, which he knew was com­ing.

“It does not look like some­thing some­one was try­ing to get away with. It’s very bla­tant,” Seavey said.

While Mills said Seavey did not have knowl­edge of the dop­ing, of­fi­cials have not de­ter­mined who was re­spon­si­ble for it.

“We’re con­vinced we’re never go­ing to fig­ure that out,” Mills said.

Seavey raced in Nor­way in­stead of run­ning the Idi­tarod this year. He hasn’t de­cided where he will race next year.

“I’m not en­tirely sure which way we’re go­ing, but I’m train­ing dogs,” Seavey said. “This whole sit­u­a­tion over a whole year-and-a-half has been tire­some, to say the least. I’m fo­cused on hav­ing fun with the dog team. The sim­ple side of it.”

This whole sit­u­a­tion over a whole year-and-ahalf has been tire­some, to say the least. I’m fo­cused on hav­ing fun with the dog team. The sim­ple side of it.” Dal­las Seavey, four-time Idi­tarod cham­pion

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