IOC Withdraws Doping Case Against Australia’s Brenton Rickard Who Is Left Holding A $50,000 Bill To Clear His Name

CASE DISMISSED: Brenton Rickard cleared of any wrong-doing in a doping case from 2012 and Australia's 4x100m medley relay bronze from London, stands. Photo Courtesy: News Limited.

IOC Withdraws Doping Case Against Australia’s Brenton Rickard Who Is Left Holding A $50,000 Bill To Clear Name

Nightmare doping charges that emerged some eight years after the London Olympics against Australian triple Olympic swimming medalist Brenton Rickard have today been withdrawn by the International Olympic Committee.

But the dual Olympian, world champion and three-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist still faces court costs of over $50,0000.

Swimming World can reveal that Rickard’s case in The Court of Arbitration of Sport has been successful and the charges against him have been withdrawn by the IOC – and the best news of all is he has saved his mates’ Olympic medals.

In November last year it was revealed Rickard had returned an adverse analytical finding in a urine sample supplied eight years before at the London 2012 Olympic Games after his 200m breaststroke.

Brenton Rickard Courtesy AAP

FINALLY IT’S OVER: Brenton Rickard is a relieved man today having his name cleared by the Court of Arbitration For Sport. Photo Courtesy: AAP.

The sample returned a positive result for a miniscule (6ng/mL) amount of the banned diuretic furosemide (often used as a masking agent) – but now an IOC rule change in May has seen a backflip with the case thrown out but as a consequence leaving Rickard with whopping court costs to pay.

When Rickard’s sample was re-tested last November the former champion breaststroker immediately began proceedings to clear his name when he fronted the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland late last year.

The consequences would be that if found guilty the six members of Australia’s bronze medal winning 4×100 metre medley relay team from 2012 (Rickard, Tommaso D’Orsogna, Christian Sprenger, Matt Targett, James Magnussen and Hayden Stoeckel) would be stripped of their medals.

Rickard and D’Orsogna had swum the heats – replaced by Sprenger and Magnussen in the final.

Now some agonising nine months later Rickard, a respected team leader on the Australian Swimming team through two Olympic campaigns and a decorated decade on the Dolphins team, can hold his head high after a nightmare ordeal for the swimmer and his family – now knowing his teammates can all keep their cherished medals.

A spokesperson for Rickard told Swimming World: “Brenton is VERY relieved that the medals for the other members of the London Olympics medley relay team are now safe and he has been exonerated of any wrongdoing and IT IS FINALLY OVER!!!!!!!

“Unfortunately his request for costs has not been successful as the arbitrator has ruled that because the IOC withdrew the charges it could not be shown that Brenton had prevailed in the case so each party has to bear their own legal costs which in Brenton’s case amounts to more than $50,000.”

In May the IOC changed its rules so that unless any adverse analytical finding is found in concentrations above 40 ng/mL that will be considered as contaminants of over the counter drugs such as paracetamol (which is the only explanation of the substance and miniscule level of 6 ng/mL of furosemide appearing in Rickard’s sample).


BRONZED AUSSIES: Australia’s bronze-medal winning 4x100m medley relay team from London 2012 (L-R) Matt Targett, James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger, Hayden Stoeckel and Brenton Rickard (insert) Photo Courtesy: Fairfax Media.

But Rickard’s family remains heartbroken for an athlete who prided himself and stood up as an advocate for clean sport, saying he has had his morals questioned over a case that should never had even raised its head.

Knowing he has to live with a reputation that has been besmirched and left with a huge bill to clear his name.

When told of the news last November a devastated Rickard informed his team mates that a sample that he provided on 1 August 2012 after the 200m breaststroke event had been re-tested eight years later and returned with an exceedingly small concentration of a masking agent, furosemide.

“The re-analysis did not detect the presence of any other prohibited substance that may have a performance-enhancing effect…As you know I would never, ever knowingly or deliberately take a banned substance without a TUE,” wrote Rickard.

“ It is not acceptable within my own personal values, nor ever acceptable within the culture of our team. I have always abhorred doping within the sport so you can imagine how sickened and horrified I am to find myself in this predicament. This is my worst nightmare.

“You may be aware that diuretics are known contaminants of over-the-counter medications. I believe that this is what has occurred here as I consumed a number of over-the-counter medications in the week prior to test. This explains the exceptionally low concentration (6ng/ml).

“To put it in perspective, the minimum required performance level for the detection of furosemide in 2012 was 250ng/ML. Given its high excretion rate, it is implausible that I would have knowingly taken this substance for an improper purpose.

“ Unfortunately for me though, I am not able to produce physical evidence eight years after the fact and the reality is that the precision of testing has become so good it has now exceeded the quality control measures for over-the-counter medications.

“The IOC have filed proceedings against me in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and are looking to disqualify all of my results from the London Games, including the Medley Relay team.

“Through my lawyers I have objected to this in the strongest possible terms. This outcome would be grossly unfair and disproportionate, particularly given I did not swim in the final. I also think it is not right for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make a decision about this when you are not a party to the proceedings.

“I am truly sorry to have to inform you of this shocking situation. I expect the matter will become public imminently so I wanted to inform you in advance of this and convey to you my strong conviction of my innocence and commitment to protesting the disqualification of the 4 x 100m Medley result.

“I will, of course, let you know the outcome as soon as I know it myself.”

Good news delivered today after a hard earned and deserved outcome and an unexpected battle won for himself and his mates….but painful scars that still remain for one of the good guys of Australian Olympic sports.

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2 years ago

The IOC shouldn’t have been allowed to withdraw their case then .. a decision should have been handed down .. my other concern is that because it’s withdrawn they could easily just change their rules again and another case could be brought to CAs at a later stage since this one was not really resolved but withdrawn only

Wendy Ohlsen
2 years ago

Hold your head high Brenton, we are proud to be part of your extended family and can only admire you for what you have achieved and how you have fought to clear your name and reputation. Stand tall , those who know you have never doubted you. Love from us both…..John and Wendy xxx

2 years ago

The Aus OC should cover his fees

2 years ago

Surely the over the counter medications would have been given by the team doctor? If this was the case they, the medical team must take responsibility.

1 year ago

I think the Aussies have the well earned reputation of being some of the most fair minded clean athletes in the world. But that said. Why was this athlete taking several over the counter medications as he describes, without naming any of them, the week before the Olympics. And wasn’t there a team doctor who administered even these OTC meds and kept a record of them? Also since this court battle and reputation defense was done in the name of fair play and to protect the medals won by team AUS shouldn’t their swimming body step up and pay for all or at least some of these cost?