Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Madisyn Cox has secured a settlement agreement with the International Swimming Federation (FINA) to reduce a two year ban to six months, after securing evidence that her adverse analytical finding (AAF) was caused by a contaminated supplement she had been taking for seven years. In support of an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against her two year sanction, the US swimmer sent the Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin she had been taking prior to her 5 February AAF for testing. The Salt Lake City Laboratory, which is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), detected trimetazidine at approximately four nanograms per tablet in both the opened and sealed bottles she had sent to be analysed.
‘She had not tested the Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin or her other supplements as part of her FINA case because there had never been a recorded case of trimetazidine supplement contamination and the supplements she was taking seemed extremely safe and clean’, read a Consent Award published by CAS (PDF below). ‘The athlete had been taking the Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin without incident for 7 years and had tested negative 20 plus times over that span […] The Athlete had declared the Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin on her 5 February 2018 doping control form and had also documents her use of the Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin in her food log prepared in the aftermath of her positive test.’
Although the FINA Doping Panel had accepted that Cox’s AAF was unintentional, its July ruling said that it could not accept the contention that the AAF was caused by a contaminated water supply, as Cox had then argued. It said that it was prepared to take ‘the highly unusual step of accepting that Ms. Cox did not act with intention in the absence of proof regarding the source of the Trimetazidine that came into her body […] In other words, Ms. Cox did not intend to dope and the adverse analytical finding (AAF) that has been admitted was unintentional. This conclusion reduces the presumptive sanction from 4 years to 2.’
Cooper Aerobics, which manufactures Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin, wrote that it is ‘deeply concerned’ that its product could have been the cause of Cox’s AAF, and is conducting tests. ‘The health and safety of Cooper Complete customers is our top priority’, continued an email. ‘We learned from recent news reports that the suspension of USA swimmer Madisyn Cox earlier this year was due to a substance found in her routine drug test that has been linked back in the news reports to a particular lot of Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamins. The test results showed microscopic traces of Trimetazidine. Trimetazidine is not a substance that is in our product formulation and Cooper Complete immediately contacted the multivitamin manufacturing facility and has identified an independent third party testing laboratory to perform further testing. The product that Ms. Cox purchased is no longer in our inventory.’
Cooper Complete Elite Athlete multivitamin has been removed from the company’s internet site. Whatever the results of the laboratory tests, it would appear that Cooper Aerobics has limited options for appeal.
‘The present Consent Award puts an end to the arbitration procedure CAS 2018/A/5866 Madisyn Cox v. FINA’, reads the CAS Consent Award. ‘A third party may only participate in the arbitration if it is bound by the arbitration agreement or if it and the other parties agree in writing’, reads R41.4 of the CAS Code of Sports Related Arbitration. ‘The President of the Division, before the transfer of the file to the Panel, and thereafter the Panel may at any time seek to resolve the dispute by conciliation’, reads R42 of the same Code. ‘Any settlement may be embodied in an arbitral award rendered by consent of the parties’.
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