Olympian Jeff Adams has drug suspension overturned

Canadian wheelchair athlete Jeff Adams has had his suspension for failing an event drug test overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Three-time gold medallist had tested positive for cocaine in 2006

Canadian wheelchair athlete Jeff Adams has had his suspension for failing an event drug test overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Adams, who has competed in three Olympics and five Paralymics on the track, was banned from competition last year after testing positive for cocaine at the 2006 wheelchair marathon championships in Ottawa.

It was that two-year suspension, due to be lifted just a month before this summer's Beijing Games, that was overturned by the arbitration court.

At a news conference last June 12, Adams said the positive test was the result of a contaminated catheter, used after an incident at a Toronto nightclub on May 21, 2006, seven days before the Ottawa race.

The arbitration court, in Lausanne, Switzerland, agreed.

In a 27-page decision, the court (headed by Houston lawyer Mark Baker, with Prof. Edward Ratushny of Ottawa and Toronto lawyer Graeme Mew), upheld five of six points in the appeal.

They found in favour of Adams in all important respects, ruling no doping violation had occurred, the ineligibility period of two years was eliminated and that the athlete is eligible to receive direct financial support from the Canadian government.

Adams had lost his monetary support from Sport Canada as a result of the original decision.

On the other hand, because of the strict interpretation of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program Rules, a violation had technically taken place at the Ottawa marathon and therefore any "medals, points, and prizes received" there would be forfeited.

Neither Adams, nor his lead-lawyer, Tim Danson, would comment on Monday, but they have called a news conference for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Danson's Toronto office.

The case revolved around the catheter and the 2006 nightclub incident.

Adams claimed that an unknown woman inserted cocaine into his mouth at the Vatikan Club. Shortly after that, he used the catheter (as his spinal affliction requires) to empty his bladder.

At the end of that week, he used the same catheter to offer A and B samples to officials after the Ottawa marathon event and that as a result of the catheter's previous contamination the test was failed.

The Court of Arbitration accepted Adams' explanation of the events at the Vatikan Club:

"When the entire circumstances and known facts are viewed in light of the Appellant's [Adams] uncontroverted testimony and high character, we find that the [failed test] was the result of the contamination of the Vatikan Catheter."

The panel went on to say that by the time of the Ottawa marathon test, there were no illegal drugs in Adams' system and the failed test was because the catheter had already been contaminated.

"The Appellant was the victim of an assault in the Vatikan bar which led to his ingestion of cocaine," the decision states. "He cannot be held to have been negligent or otherwise at fault in not preventing that incident from occurring."