US judo competitor Nicholas Delpopolo has been disqualified from the London Olympics after testing positive for marijuana. Delpopolo, 23, has apologised to organisers, fans and fellow athletes and accepted his expulsion. He claims he unwittingly ate a brownie that had been baked with the drug. “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realise had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games,” said Delpopolo in a statement. “I apologise to the US 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.” The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) said the food eaten was a brownie containing marijuana. Delpopolo’s disqualification comes as Italy’s reigning 50km walk champion Alex Schwazer has failed a drugs test and will miss the Games.
Schwazer, 27, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO during a test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) at a training camp at Oberstdorf, Germany. “My career is over. I made a mistake. I wanted to be stronger for this Olympics, I was wrong,” Schwazer told ANSA news agency. Schwazer had been due to defend his 2008 Olympic title in the 50km walk on Sunday. Schwazer was a bronze medallist at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships before striking gold at Beijing four years ago. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee said Delpopolo tested positive for 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid, which is connected to marijuana consumption. Delpopolo, who finished seventh in the 73kg event, waived the right for his case to be heard before the Disciplinary Commission, and the USOC said it fully supported the expulsion. Marijuana, or cannabis, qualifies as a forbidden drug under the current rules, with athletes facing a two-year ban if it is found in their system. But its place on the Wada prohibited list has sparked much debate. The agency’s president, John Fahey, has indicated that Wada may look at changing the criteria for cannabis as a banned substance for athletes, but no decision is expected this year. While it is generally accepted that cannabis is unlikely to give athletes a performance advantage in fast-paced sports, some experts say it could prove helpful in sports like shooting or golf where a steady hand is needed. Delpopolo is set to leave London for the United States on Tuesday.
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