Excuses from the Drug Cheats
Some athletes may have valid reasons for failing a drug test, though in many cases they are clutching at straws trying to convince the public that they are innocent while the facts stack up against them. In my opinion, in most instances it just makes them look more guilty. Here are a few of the more amusing excuses offered by some of the sports people who have tested positive.
Justin Gatlin, Sprinting
It was a big surprise when sprinter Justin Gatlin, a long time advocate for drug-free sport, tested positive for testosterone. His coach Trevor Graham's excuse was that it was a setup by a masseuse with a grudge, who rubbed a testosterone cream into Gatlin's legs.
Tyler Hamilton, Cycling
Despite strong evidence of blood doping against American cyclist Tyler Hamilton in September 2004, he denied ever receiving a blood transfusion. He said the reason foreign cells were found in his body was that he might be a Chimera - an organism with two or more populations of genetically distinct cells, produced by a twin brother who died before birth.
Gilberto Simoni, Cycling
A two-time winner of the cycling event Giro d'Italia, Simoni was found with traces of cocaine in his blood. He blamed it on a tea prepared for him by his aunt.
Ben Johnson, Sprinter
Ben Johnson tested positive for the steroid stanozolol at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Johnson vehemently denied ever using steroids, and suggested a sasparilla-and-ginseng energy drink he took before his race was spiked. Eventually, Johnson did own up to doping.
Lance Armstrong, Cycling
Armstrong, who finished first in the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, was for a long time accused of doping. In 1999, traces of the steroid cortisone were found in his blood. Armstrong said it was because of a lotion he had rubbed onto his backside. He maintained that he never tested positive, but in 2012 after overwhelming evidence of doping, he was banned by the USADA and will probably be stripped of his titles.
Ross Rebagliati, Snow Boarding
In 1998, Canada's Ross Rebagliati was stripped of his Olympic gold medal after a drug test found traces in his urine of THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes you feel good. He claimed the drug traces came from second-hand smoke he consumed while partying with buddies prior to the Olympics. He eventually go this medal back.
Raimondas Rumsas, Cycling
Rumsas' wife was caught with a car full of banned substances, which she claimed were for her sick mother. A year later Rumsas tested positive, and this time he accused his team Lampre of doping him.
Petr Korda, Tennis
Czech tennis player Petr Korda tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone after a match at Wimbledon in 1998. He claimed he failed the test because he had eaten too much nandrolone-fattened veal. Scientists determined he would have to eat 40 calves a day for 20 years to achieve such high levels of nandrolone in his body.
Frank Vandenbrouke, Cycling
Vandenbrouke, from Belgium, was found with the banned substance Clenbuterol, which is normally used for asthma. His excuse was that it was for his dog.
Javier Sotomayor, High Jump
In 1999, Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor tested positive for cocaine. This went all the way to the top with none other than his country's president, Fidel Castro, rising to his defence. In front of a live TV audience, a furious Castro claimed the positive test was "a war against us" possibly committed by "professionals of counter-revolution and crime.''
Larissa Lazutina, X-Country Skiing
Following the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Russian cross-country skier Larissa Lazutina was stripped of her gold medal when high levels of EPO were found in her blood. She could not understand how such a thing could occur, as she had been taking these tests for years with no problems. She put it down to "female physiology".
Dennis Mitchell, Sprinter
One sleepless night, five beers, four bouts of sex: why doesn't every athlete use this defence? US sprint star Dennis Mitchell, was caught with excessively high levels of testosterone in 1998. His excuse was that it was caused by drinking five beers and a long night of sex with his wife prior of the test.
Dieter Baumann, Distance Runner
German Dieter Baumann was a top long-distance runner in the 1980s and '90s who tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999 and was subsequently banned for two years. He claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy to oust him from the sport by spiking his toothpaste with huge amounts of steroids.
Jan Ullrich, Cycling
In 2002, the 1997 Tour de France winner from Germany tested positive for amphetamines. Ullrich blamed it on "two little pills" he took at a disco the night before the test.
Christian Henn, Cycling
In 1999, German cyclist Christian Henn was found with high testosterone levels, which he blamed on a herb mixture given to him by a parent-in-law. The mixture was supposed to increase his fertility.
Dario Frigo, Cycling
Cyclist Dario Frigo was caught with illegal substance in a police raid. He told the police that he always carries forbidden substances with him, but he had never used any. He said that carrying illegal drugs was just one of his "weaknesses". He was also found with some HemAssist - a synthetic blood supplement. He replied that "I can't say which substances were in my bag."
Lenny Paul, Bobsled
Bobsledder Lenny Paul, when found with a higher than normal nandrolone content, blamed the beef in his spaghetti sauce for the positive test.
Floyd Landis, Cycling
The recently caught cyclist Floyd Landis offered various explanations for his high testosterone reading - including cortisone shots taken for pain in his degenerating hip, drinking beer and whiskey the night before, dehydration, thyroid medication, and his natural metabolism. After an exhausting day of cycling, when he needed to put in a big performance the next day, how could anyone believe that an elite athlete would drown his sorrows with "two beers and at least four whiskeys". The finding of synthetic testosterone, meaning it was ingested, debunks all of these excuses, and in the end makes him look more guilty.
- Doping Methods
- Quiz: When was doping banned at the Olympics?
- Olympic Games Drug Scandals
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