French Newspaper Reports Thorpe Tested Positive for Banned Substance; FINA Acknowledges Investigation

By John Lohn

MELBOURNE, Australia, March 30. THE French newspaper L'Equipe claimed in its editions today that Australian superstar Ian Thorpe, who recently announced his retirement, tested positive for a banned substance. The newspaper claimed that Thorpe tested positive in 2006. Meanwhile, in a statement, FINA confirmed that it has asked for an investigation into a sample that produced unusual results. That sample is presumed to be one from Thorpe.

According to the L'Equipe report, a 2006 sample from Thorpe had unusually high levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone. The newspaper went to state that the Australian Sport Antidoping Authority was aware of the test results, but chose to ignore them. Thorpe, of course, set 18 world records during his career – individual and relay – and is a five-time Olympic champion, including twice in the 400 freestyle.

The FINA statement read:

"Following the report by a sector of the foreign media, FINA confirms that an appeal has been lodged to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) on a doping control test conducted by ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority).

The FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB), consisting of experts on doping issues and directors of several WADA approved laboratories, considered the findings of this sample as an adverse analytical result.

Based on their professional expertise and recommendation, and according to FINA Rules, an appeal has been lodged to CAS with the aim of clarifying the issues surrounding this case.

On the tests conducted by a National Anti-Doping Agency or National Federation, the procedure is that FINA receives the result of the laboratory analysis, which states only the number of the respective sample and not the name of the athlete.

As the matter now rests with CAS, FINA cannot make any further comment on this issue."

Swimming Australia has indicated that it has no knowledge of a positive test. A press conference with FINA President Mustapha Larfaoui has been scheduled after the conclusion of this morning's preliminaries. L'Equipe has long been known for its pursuit of doping stories, most notably concerning cyclists in the Tour de France.