Friday , December 4 2020
Home / Sport / Australian Olympic swimming medals at risk after athlete tests positive to 2012 drug sample

Australian Olympic swimming medals at risk after athlete tests positive to 2012 drug sample

Rickard, who says he is living his “worst nightmare”, emailed his teammates on Friday revealing the International Olympic Committee is seeking to disqualify his results from the London Games.

The entire Australian 2012 Olympics 4 x 100 metre men’s medley team – James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger, Hayden Stoeckel, Matt Targett, Tommaso D’Orsogna and Rickard – would then be stripped of their medals.

A devastated Rickard will fight the punishment in a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing beginning on Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland on behalf of his teammates. He only swam the heat of the relay in London, not the final, and says his fellow Dolphins should not be fall guys.

The result emerged some eight years after the London Olympics when Rickard’s sample – which has been stored in a laboratory – was re-screened. His A and B samples were consistent in the re-testing.

The World Anti-Doping Agency extended the statute of limitations for violations from eight years to 10 years in 2015.

The 37-year-old former president of the Australian Swimmers Association is adamant he is innocent, and will argue that punishing his countrymen is disproportionate and unfair.

A three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rickard says that in the days before the 2012 Olympics drug test he took “over-the-counter medications” that must have contained the diuretic.

In his email to teammates, Rickard stresses his “innocence and commitment to protesting the disqualification of the 4 x 100m Medley result” and underscores the “exceedingly small concentration” of Furosemide detected in his re-tested sample: 6ng/ml.

“To put it in perspective, the minimum required performance level for the detection of furosemide in 2012 was 250ng/ML,” Rickard writes in the email, obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“Given its high excretion rate, it is implausible that I would have knowingly taken this substance for an improper purpose.

“You may be aware that diuretics are known contaminants of over-the-counter medications. I believe that this is what has occurred here as I consumed a number of over-the-counter medications in the week prior to test. This explains the exceptionally low concentration (6ng/ml).

The men's medley relay team (from left), Brenton Rickard, Geoff Huegill, Eamon Sullivan and Ashley Delaney.

The men’s medley relay team (from left), Brenton Rickard, Geoff Huegill, Eamon Sullivan and Ashley Delaney.Credit:Quentin Jones

“Unfortunately for me though, I am not able to produce physical evidence eight years after the fact and the reality is that the precision of testing has become so good it has now exceeded the quality control measures for over-the-counter medications.”

Loading

The court action was launched after the results of Rickard’s A and B re-screenings were consistent.

The Australian Olympic Committee is aware of the stunning case and proceedings.

“I am truly sorry to have to inform you of this shocking situation,” Rickard wrote to his teammates.

“This outcome would be grossly unfair and disproportionate, particularly given I did not swim in the final. I also think it is not right for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make a decision about this when you are not a party to the proceedings.

“I have always abhorred doping within the sport so you can imagine how sickened and horrified I am to find myself in this predicament. This is my worst nightmare.”

Rickard was a member of the national swim team’s leadership group until his retirement in 2013 and helped Australia set the fourth fastest heat time in the Olympic relay on August 3, 2012.

The next day, after the interchange of two swimmers – Magnussen and Sprenger were brought in for the final instead of Rickard and D’Orsogna – Australia claimed bronze.

Should the IOC’s case be upheld, a quintet of British swimmers stands to win the bronze medals of the disqualified Australian swimmers, altering both Australian and British Olympic records and medal counts.

Australia’s medal tally from the 2012 London Olympics would drop to 34 and its haul from the pool to nine.

Get our Morning & Evening Edition newsletters

The most important news, analysis and insights delivered to your inbox at the start and end of each day. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here, The Age’s newsletter here, Brisbane Timeshere and WAtoday‘s here.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading

About admin

Check Also

White-ball tweakers are Australia’s secret weapon

Then there’s Agar, the eccentric Peter Garrett look-alike who, like the Midnight Oil singer, continues …