Alberto Contador assured everyone it was the fault of a steak, a fillet of beef. Because of a dinner with some friends, he said. Eventually the Spaniard tested positive for a doping control during the final days of the Tour de France, it was 2010. The tests showed a small amount of clenbuterol, a substance that helps burn fat and strengthen muscles. Obviously, it was prohibited. During the trial Contador continued to compete, win even, he also won a Giro d'Italia, then on February 6, 2012 they disqualified him for two years retroactively.
Tennis player Petr Korda also said it was steaks. In 1998 they found him positive, he was deprived of points for the ATP ranking and fined $94,500. This is the history of doping, a history marked by stages, moments and men who made the legend. And then maybe the legend was cancelled. Wiping the slate clean or a syringe. Talent erased by chemical formulas.
But Andrea Iannone’s case is different. The argument presented by WADA, which pressed for a four-year ban for the rider, was accepted. According to the CAS panel, Iannone had failed to establish (“to the requisite standard”) that the origin of the prohibited substance in his sample resulted from the contamination of meat, consumed in a hotel in Sepang (Malaysia). The defence had always supported the argument of food contamination. In his defence, Iannone had also produced the hair test, performed on 9 January at the Bertinaria Anti-Doping Centre in Turin. An examination capable of providing a sort of reverse historical track of people. Iannone was clean from September 2019 onwards. A result compatible with an involuntary intake of the substance from treated food.
The motivations of those acquitted: from sexual intercourse to the kiss of a fan
A story that brings to mind many others, there are always precedents. Like that of Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, the Canadian sprint canoer and 2018 world champion. She tested positive for ligandrol but was then cleared by the anti-doping commission of the International Canoe Federation (ICF): zero days of disqualification, the suspension cancelled. Why? As proof of the facts, Vincent-Lapointe's lawyer had provided the panel with a set of tests on her boyfriend's hair which tested positive for ligandrol. The analysis confirmed the possibility of contamination through body fluids: in other words, she had had sex. Another precedent was that of the French tennis player Richard Gasquet. In 2009, Gasquet was found positive for cocaine and escaped any sanctions by blaming it on a kiss from a fan.
There have been many cases in which the evidence was not sufficient. In 1968, in Mexico City, the International Olympic Committee applied the first disqualification. It was for Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall, competing in the Modern Pentathlon, who was found with an amount of alcohol in his body. Liljenwall swore that he had drank “two beers” to calm his nerves before the pistol shooting event, doping had nothing to do with it. But in the end he was forced to return the medal he had won.
... but even sex with Belen was not enough in Borriello's case
Doping is an alteration of time. It is not just anti-sport. What you are is erased, your traits of existence obscured by doubts, by judgments. By artfully invented excuses. Basketball point guard D.J. Cooper used another person’s urine in his test tubes, which indicated a high level of human chorionic gonadotropin .... meaning that he was "pregnant". Disqualified 24 months, fined. The footballer Marco Borriello (photo with Belen Rodriguez) was disqualified for doping in 2007 because he tested positive for prednisone and prednisolone during a check at the end of the AC Milan-Rome match on 21 December 2006. His girlfriend at the time stated that the compound was contained in a vaginal cream that she was using because of an infection. The girlfriend was Belen…
For Sara Errani it was for “accidentally consuming her mother’s anti-cancer medication” in home-made tortellini… She was disqualified for two months, while a more apocalyptic scenario came with Dieter Bauman, a German middle-distance runner, who tested positive for nandrolone in 1999. It is a conspiracy, the defence screamed: ‘someone’ had injected the substance into his toothpaste with a syringe. LaShawn Merritt, an American sprinter, gold medal at Beijing in 2008, tested positive for Deha, an anabolic steroid. He said that it resulted from the use of an over-the-counter penis enlargement product. Dennis Mitchell pushed the envelope even further with orgies and beer, and that was how he tested positive for testosterone. Barry Bonds started playing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986, then went to San Francisco. In 2003, the baseball player was accused of taking steroids from the BALCO company. His physique underwent a radical and visible change, something was clearly wrong. Bonds admitted consuming those products on his personal strength trainer’s suggestion without knowing they were performance-enhancing drugs and believing them instead to be flaxseed oil and rubbing balm for arthritis. In 2011, however, he was convicted of perjury over taking steroids.