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Thorpe says he's confident he'll be cleared of doping allegations

Thorpe says he's confident he'll be cleared of doping allegations

Clearly distressed, Ian Thorpe said Sunday he's confident he'll be cleared of any doping violation after a test last year showed "abnormal levels" of two banned substances.
The five-time Olympic champion, at the center of a doping controversy five months after retiring, told a packed news conference that he had been one of swimming's most drug-tested athletes.
"I have complete confidence that all the medical and scientific evidence will establish that I am innocent," Thorpe told more than 200 journalists gathered across the street from the world championships.
"I have always been and remain a strong supporter of the drug-testing system. Most people will probably recognize that I have been one of the most tested athletes."
The unshaven Thorpe, dressed in slacks and a rumpled, striped dress shirt, spoke publicly for the first time since the French sports daily L'Equipe reported Friday that Thorpe elevated levels of the banned substances in a doping test last May. He announced his retirement in November at age 24.
"I sat in my room physically shaking because I didn't understand it," Thorpe said when he learned of the report Saturday morning.
FINA, swimming's world governing body, confirmed that it had appealed a ruling by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency to the Court of Arbitration for Sport "with the aim of clarifying issues surrounding this case." FINA did not mention Thorpe by name.
L'Equipe reported that ASADA threw out the case against Thorpe for lack of scientific proof. FINA then went to CAS, the highest tribunal in the sports world.
Thorpe reasserted his firm belief in clean sport and has stated his position publicly on many occasions, "sometimes to my detriment by officials."
"I have never cheated and have always complied with my obligations to the anti-doping codes to the letter," he said.
Richard Ings, chief executive of the Australian anti-doping agency, said the investigation had not been closed and was requesting more information on the case.
"I now have to go back through my medical history with my doctor and see if there was any medication I was taking at that time that could have affected the results," Thorpe said.
Cornel Marculescu, FINA executive director, said the appeal was made in December and he was not sure why the news came out now. He also insisted that FINA did not know the name of the athlete involved when it appealed for a review of the case.
Thorpe said he didn't think it was a coincidence that the test results were revealed during the world championships in his home country.
The French newspaper said Thorpe turned up with irregular levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone.
Thorpe said he is "deeply alarmed" that information about his test was leaked to the media before he was informed.
"The press receiving this information before an athlete jeopardizes the whole integrity of the testing process," he said. "What is even more troubling is that the result is one for which I understand there is many innocent explanations."
Thorpe said he could only speculate on the motives of the person who leaked the information, but was confident of eventually finding out his or her identity.
Thorpe did not compete in another major international meet after the 2004 Athens Olympics, his return scuttled by injuries, illness and a lack of motivation.
Even though he was not competing, Thorpe was still subjected to regular drug testing until he formally retired.
Synthetic versions of testosterone, the male hormone, can act like steroids to improve performance. Luteinizing hormone is released by the pituitary gland and produces testosterone in men.
Besides his Olympic titles, Thorpe won 11 world championships and set 13 world records during his career.
After winning three golds and two silvers at the 2000 Sydney Games, Thorpe produced one of the greatest performances in swimming history at the world championships the following year in Fukuoka, Japan. An 18-year-old Thorpe became the first swimmer to win six gold medals at the meet. He set three individual world records and took part in a record-setting relay.
Thorpe still holds the world mark in the 400-meter freestyle.
After Thorpe won two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Athens Olympics, he took a 15-month break from swimming. His return lasted only one race in November 2005.


Updated : 2021-10-18 00:57 GMT+08:00