Madisyn Cox Vindicated, Process Works, But Nobody Wins

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Commentary By Dan D’Addona.

Madisyn Cox won her appeal, got her suspension lifted and has vindication.

Unfortunately, she still isn’t the winner of the situation.

FINA, which administered the suspension, made the correct call based on the facts, then when more facts were gathered in the appeal, again made the right decision to reduce the suspension to six months.

But despite them doing everything by the book and the process working correctly, FINA didn’t win either, having one of the top swimmers in the world miss out on major international competition.

Nobody won.

Cox is vindicated, yes, but because the suspension took place before nationals and was not overturned until well afterward, she missed out on a chance to be on the U.S. national team for the next two years. Definitely an unfair reality for one of the world’s best swimmers on the rise.

Thankfully, she was able to prove that the Trimetazidine detected in her test was found in a multivitamin called Cooper Complete Elite Athlete — a substance she listed as having taken on her doping control forms in February.

This is not the first time a high-profile athlete has been suspended, and then vindicated. In 2008, Olympian Jessica Hardy tested positive for a banned substance at the Olympic trials and missed the Beijing games, though her suspension was reduced to a year after it was adjudicated as contaminated supplement use. She would go on to make the Olympics in 2012.

But Hardy had to pay the ultimate price by missing the Olympics before getting her name cleared, and wait a long time to earn redemption by making the Olympic team four years later.

The Cox ordeal didn’t happen in an Olympic year, but she still paid a hefty price. This happens to be the year that Nationals can get a swimmer on the national team for the next two years. So even with a short suspension and missing nationals and Pan Pacs, she has no chance to make worlds or any other international meet next year.

She is vindicated but redemption in the water will take some time.

It has been devastating for Cox, who has acted extremely professional throughout the process.

She did the right thing, but wasn’t the winner. FINA did the right thing, but wasn’t the winner.

Hopefully, the winners will be future athletes who learned from Cox’s situation and were able to test their own supplements and prevent a situation like this from happening in the first place.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

7 Comments

7 comments

  1. avatar
    Aurea

    FINA and the swimming world need to stop being naive about contamination. There should be an organization that actually punishes the labs not following guidelines. Those scientists behind the committee should investigate all details carefully and audit products, labs and scientists behind these unfortunate decisions. Swimmers are not scientists and FINA should have a third party investigating cases like this.

  2. Aurea Gupton

    FINA and the swimming world need to stop being naive about contamination. There should be an organization that actually punishes the labs not following guidelines. Those scientists behind the committee should investigate all details carefully and audit products, labs and scientists behind these unfortunate decisions. Swimmers are not scientists and FINA should have a third party investigating cases like this.

  3. avatar
    Logic Never Prevails

    No one cares because “strict liability” is a thing (even though no one pays attention to it). Don’t want to risk a ban? Don’t take vitamins. Or if you do, take one that’s pre-tested, or do your own testing. People don’t seem to understand that intentional or not, if you are doping, you are cheating other athletes, and you deserve to be banned.

    • avatar
      LibbieCox

      First your user name is completely out of line with your context. Logical would mean that you have some scientific or first hand knowledge about the situation. After reading another comment from another site we decided to verify the information from a prominent pharmacist to determine the actual performance enhancement I.e “cheating” actually gained from the amount in the multivitamin. This is not a steroid. It’s a hormone modulator so to get any benefit she would have to take 60 mg daily for 2 months. That translates to 1.5 billion tablets a day. A nanogram is equal to 10(-6) power of a milligram and each tablet had 4 ng. A single therapeutic dose is 60 mg per day. You can not microdose with a hormone modulator. So how in the world did she “cheat” any other athlete? So if you think there is a logical scenario where she was taking 1.5 billion tablets (unintentionally) a day then I guess your “doping scenario” makes sense to your “logic”. There have been world renowned experts who testified to the ZERO benefit performance enhancement she could have gotten. I am very interested in your credentials which enables you to declare someone a cheater. And to the testing of the vitamin it had essential tested negative over 20 times. Are you proposing testing every vitamin every time you get a new bottle? Just wondering how “logical” that is. Where in truthfully we are now a proponent of don’t take anything.

  4. Thor Larson

    How does someone test their own supplements? How much does having your own supplements tested cost?

  5. Carole Machol-Atler

    Wait…how is FINA a winner if she was initially found “guilty” and now misses being on the National Team? Gotta figure this out.

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Author: Daniel D'Addona

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Dan D'Addona is the lead college swim writer for Swimming World. He has covered swimming at all levels since 2003, including the NCAA championships, USA nationals, Duel in the Pool and Olympic trials. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a graduate of Central Michigan University. He currently lives in Holland, Michigan, where he also is the Sports Editor at The Holland Sentinel.

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