Fri, September 20, 2013

Rebagliati redux: U.S. Olympian booted over marijuana

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency


Nicholas Delpopolo of the U.S. (blue) fights South Korea's Wang Ki-Chun fights during the men's 73-kg quarter-final judo match at the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 30. (REUTERS)

LONDON - American judoka Nicholas Delpopolo was banned from the Summer Olympics Monday for testing positive for marijuana.

The International Olympic Committee announced the 23-year-old tested positive July 30 after he competed in the 73 kilogram event for what the IOC described as 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid.

"My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games,” said Delpopolo, in a statement released by the U.S. Olympic Committee. “I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake. I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will re-dedicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be."

Delpopolo, who is from New Jersey, finished in seventh place but the result will be nullified.

At the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics, Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati’s gold medal was briefly revoked after he tested positive for marijuana. It was not on the list of banned substances at the time, so he regained his medal.

Nearly 3,000 drug tests have been conducted in London where four athletes have been banned and one suspended so far. The Games end Aug. 12.