Madisyn Cox Releases Statement on FINA Doping Suspension

Photo Courtesy: Aaron Doster of USA TODAY Sports

Editorial content for the USA Swimming Summer Nationals coverage is sponsored by TritonWear. Visit TritonWear.com for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check event coverage page.

Earlier this morning, it was reported that U.S. National Team member Madisyn Cox has been handed a two year doping suspension by FINA.

The reason for suspension was listed as Trimetazidine, which is listed as a Class 4.5.4 (hormones and metabolites) according to WADA’s prohibited list.

Swimming World has been in contact with Cox and received the following statement:

FINA made public earlier today that I’ve been sanctioned for two years because I unintentionally ingested a prohibited substance, Trimetazidine, an unfathomably low amount of which was detected in an out-of-competition urine sample provided on February 5, 2018. I had never heard of this substance prior to receiving the test results.

The FINA Hearing Panel reviewed all of the evidence, including lab reports demonstrating very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance in my sample. A world-renowned biochemist who reviewed my case compared the extraordinarily low level detected equal to “a pinch of salt in an Olympic size swimming pool.” At such a trace level, the substance provided me with no performance benefit of any kind.

The FINA Hearing Panel considered (1) the low level in my urine, (2) that no Trimetazidine was detected in my hair sample, and (3) my in-person testimony. The Panel found that I was “an honest, very hardworking and highly credible athlete who is not a ‘cheat.’” They believed my testimony, stating that my case was “highly credible.” As a result, the Panel reduced the sanction from a potential four year period to two years – which has happened only one other time in history.

Unfortunately the Panel determined that I was not eligible for a finding of “No Fault” because I could not prove the “likely source” of the 0.1 ng/ml of Trimetazidine in my urine. While the scientific expert who reviewed my case believes that I unknowingly ingested the Trimetazidine through tap water consumed the night before the test, the Panel determined that more scientific evidence was needed to prove this. The presence of pharmaceuticals like Trimetazidine in U.S. drinking water is well documented, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has studied the levels of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of certain cities across the United States. Also unfortunately for me, there haven’t been any studies like this done in Austin, Texas, where I live and train.

The Panel noted that “contaminated water” was certainly a possible source of the banned substance, but it could not find that it was the “likely source” without more testing data on the presence of pharmaceuticals in the Austin, Texas water supply. I currently am looking into whether such testing is possible. I also am considering whether to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Since my test result, I have learned the hard way about the harshness of the anti-doping rules. Because a microscopic amount of a prohibited substance was detected in my urine, I am sanctioned for two years despite the FINA Hearing Panel finding that my ingestion was unintentional and that I am not a “cheat”.

I am devastated. I honestly believed through this entire process that I would receive a No Fault ruling, due to the strength of my case, a completely clean hair sample, dozens and dozens of clean tests and a history of carrying myself with honor and integrity throughout my academic and swimming career. I stand on my personal and competitive reputation.

I have not taken and will never take short cuts to be the very best. I have been training this entire past year to compete at U.S. Nationals with the goal of representing my family, team and the United States at the Pan Pacific Championships and the 2019 FINA World Championships.

As I endure these next weeks and months, I would anticipate and appreciate your understanding, and hope you respect that this statement is complete and stands as my only public comments at this time.

Click here to read the full FINA decision. 

10 Comments

10 comments

  1. Vic Stawik

    That’s just nuts. I mean wow.

  2. avatar

    FINA is wrong on this one. Whatever happened to the Swimmer’s Union that Katinka Hosszú was organizing to reign in FINA?

  3. avatar
    Swimterp

    You should contact the water utility that serves Austin if you believe the tainted water was from their supply. Most utilities release tables of chemicals and other substances found in their water supplies – in fact, I believe they are required to test the water periodically and provide the data to the public. Ask to see any water quality studies they performed during that time of the year. Tiny amounts of some things not considered harmful may not be reported, so contact your utility’s ‘water quality’ or ‘chemistry’ lab and ask to speak with someone who can run a test for your specific chemical – they are usually very helpful.

  4. David Barton

    I bring two large bottles of water into work each day with me. We have a special home filter. People at work ask why. I tell them that city water has pharmaceuticals in it, like birth control and more. They always think that’s BS.

  5. Susan Dally

    She is am awesome athlete and should not have to deal with this when there are worse athletes that get away with much worse things..i hope she appeals and gets back in the water quickly..one swimmer to another. Stay strong Madison

  6. avatar

    Totally with you on this Madisyn … be 💪🏼 and persist… as unjust as this certainly seems you can come out the other side stronger than ever!

  7. avatar
    Ann Cooper

    This really is BS. Review everything you’ve ingested over whatever length of time it can persist in your urine- pursue other lab testing- review lit on that substance and false positives.

Author: Taylor Brien

avatar
Taylor Brien is the Assistant Operations Manager and a staff writer at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Current Swimming World Issue


Trouble Viewing on Smart Phones, Tablets or iPads? Click Here