Visnovsky's cold case

By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

Lubomir Visnovsky didn’t think he could feel any worse than he did after losing the bronze medal game at the Vancouver Olympics.

But then he failed a drug test for taking a cold and flu medication and was reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee.

“I feel terrible about this,” Visnovsky said. “I took Advil cold medication. I spoke before the Olympics with (Oilers) Dr. (Dhiren) Naidu and he told me that I’d be clear as long as I didn’t take five or six of them and I took three of them. But my levels (pseudoephedrine) were higher than normal. I was really surprised.

“Before the test, I filled out the form and said that I had taken the Advil cold and some vitamins, so it was a big surprise for me that I failed. I feel bad, because my name is now on a black list.”

Visnovsky, who suited up for Slovakia in Vancouver had previously played in the Turin Olympics and four world championship tournaments and never once failed a drug test. Despite failing this time around, he won’t be suspended and will be eligible to play in this year’s world championship tournament.

“I never took anything illegal,” he said. “Everything I took I asked the doctors about, which I feel bad about too. I even asked the Slovakian team doctor about it.”

Visnovsky was tested two more times, passing on both occasions. He was fighting flu symptoms prior to the Olympics, which prompted him to take the medication.

There were some questions as to how much of the cold medicine was legal under IOC regulations, which changed twice in the weeks leading up to the games.

Regardless, Visnovsky otherwise had a positive experience in Vancouver.

Slovakia was one of the biggest surprises in the men’s hockey tournament, coming close to knocking off Canada in the semifinal before blowing a two-goal lead in the third period of the bronze medal game to Finland.

“We were very close to the bronze medal,” Visnovsky said. “It was upsetting especially for our team because we had a lot of players that were over 30 years old and it was the last Olympic tournament for a lot of us on this team.

“It’s hard to say what happened in the bronze medal game, but we had to kill a lot of penalties in the game and you have to wonder about the referee. There were some terrible calls and when you have to play seven minutes short-handed in the final period it’s not easy.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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