Horse doping may cost Norway equestrian medal
Bronze medallist among 4 countries with horses testing positive for capsaicin
Norway could lose its bronze medal in show jumping after a horse on the team was provisionally suspended for testing positive for doping, and three other countries were also cited for possible infractions, CBC Sports has learned.
Camiro, ridden by Tony Andre Hansen, was part of Norway's bronze-medal team, which finished behind winner the United States and silver medallists from Canada.
His suspension means Canada's Eric Lamaze and Hickstead are now in a three-way tie for first place heading into the individual show-jumping final.
Horses from Brazil, Ireland and Germany also tested positive for the illegal substance capsaicin, which is prohibited for its pain-relieving properties, the sport's international governing body, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), announced Thursday.
Norway's loss would be Switzerland's gain, as the Swiss team could move into the bronze-medal position if the doping allegation is confirmed. The Swiss had finished fourth overall.
All horses must go through a second blood test before any final determination is made.
The other three horses that tested positive are:
- Lantinus from Ireland, ridden by Dennis Lynch.
- Brazil's Chupa Cup, ridden by Bernardo Alves.
- Germany's Coster, riden by Christian Ahlmann.
No explanation has been offered as to why the horses were given the medication, which according to CBC Sports analyst Beth Underhill can be likened to the rub Absorbine Junior.
Rub's use not new at the Olympics
Underhill said capsaicin is often used for pain, but she's suspicous that it was being used "for the horses to be more careful at the jumps."
Underhill said the drug induces "hypersensitivity" to the horse's legs, which would make them more cautious at the jumps and less likely to make contact with them."
Underhill said the drugs were probably "absorbed into the skin," but picked up by the blood sample.
"I find it shocking that they would take this kind of risk," she said, considering riders are aware this substance is banned.
Horse doping is not new at the Olympic Games.
In Athens, Germany was stripped of its team gold medal because of a positive drug test. Individual jumping gold medallist Cian O'Connor of Ireland also had his gold medal taken away because of doping.
Hansen, Lynch and Alves have been suspended, and will not be allowed to ride in the individual show-jumping competition on Thursday. Ahlmann was not entered in the event.
This means the leader of the individual jumping has been pulled from competition. Hansen and Camiro were leading the pack heading into Thursday's final. They jumped three clear rounds in the first three qualifiers of individual jumping, incurring only time penalties in each of the rounds.
Ranked No. 90 in the world, Hansen and Camiro were not considered medal contenders heading into Beijing.
With files from the Associated Press