Sports

Lopes-Schliep clears doping control

As Priscilla Lopes-Schliep merrily made her way through the media mixed zone, a Canadian flag draped around her shoulders, Dr. Al Vernac, the national team doctor arrived breathless and sweating profusely.

As Priscilla Lopes-Schliep merrily made her way through the media mixed zone, a Canadian flag draped around her shoulders, Dr. Al Vernac, the national team doctor arrived breathless and sweating profusely.

"I am tired from running around trying to keep up with her," he muttered. "She made her race with eight minutes to spare!"

With the 2009 IAAF world championship silver medal to add to the Olympic bronze she collected a year ago in Beijing, the 26-year-old from Whitby, Ont., made nary a mention of the trouble that befell her, and threatened to be a larger obstacle than the 10 hurdles she faced in Wednesday's 100-metre hurdle final in Berlin.

"I was called to doping control right before my race," she explained with her characteristic smile. "We were running up and down stairwells and elevators. It was a fiasco right before my race.

"No more than eight minutes before the race I did the test and then ran around the stadium trying to find the fastest way down. I stood in the call room for five minutes then we walked out on the track [for the final]."

After being contacted by CBCSports.ca, a spokesman for the IAAF made some phone calls to the competition area. He called it a "cockup" and admitted that Lopes-Schliep had been required to provide a sample immediately following her semifinal victory earlier on Wednesday.

"I said on the way to the warmup track, 'Listen I have a race to prepare for and I know you are doing your job but I am here to race,'" Lopes-Schliep said. "The girl didn't understand. There was as bit of a language barrier. I was a little angry but I got it done and I got a silver."

Not one to miss seeing the silver lining, Lopes-Schliep laughed when she realized she had now completed her doping control for the night.

"Right away I got the testing out of the way and now I can leave," she joked. "Last year in Beijing it took a while to do that. I don't have to stick around too late.

"I am going to go have pizza and ice cream. I have been eating pretty healthy so I deserve it with my coach Anthony McCleary and my husband [Bronsen Schliep]."

Being Canada's only Olympic track and field medallist might have placed undue expectations on her, particularly when she competes in an event where one mistake can be costly. But Lopes-Schliep seems immune to pressure.

"Honestly, I didn't read anything [in the press] because that only gets me worked up," she admitted. "Two days before a race I just try to stay as calm as possible because my mind goes a mile a minute."

For winning the silver medal she will receive $40,000 US prize money from the IAAF and receive the most favourable lane assignments in the upcoming European track meets.

"I am going back on the European circuit I probably won't get home until Sept. 15th," she explained. "I will be running my next meet in Zurich [Golden League] and then get ready for some more finals including the world athletics final [in Athens] and hopefully put Canada on the map again."