Vincent Lapointe says traces of banned substance could have come from bodily fluids

One of Canada's top 2020 Olympic medal contenders is expected to find out a decision on a doping case affecting her status for Tokyo on Monday.

Star Canadian canoeist expects ruling on Tokyo doping case on Monday

Laurence Vincent Lapointe, one of Canada's top 2020 Olympic medal hopefuls, is expected to received a decision on her doping case, which will impact her status for Tokyo, on Monday. (Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press)

Laurence Vincent Lapointe, one of Canada's top Olympic medal contenders, says that the trace amounts of a banned substance found in her system could have come from bodily fluids exchanged with her former boyfriend.

Radio-Canada has learned that the star canoeist and her lawyer, Adam Klevinas, presented this information when she went before ICF's Doping Control Panel in Lausanne, Switzerland, in December.

The 27-year-old was provisionally suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency for having trace amounts of the banned substance Ligandrol in an out-of-competition doping test conducted in July.

Ligandrol, which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances, is used to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis and is considered to have effects similar to anabolic steroids.

Verdict expected Monday

The native of Trois-Rivieres, Que., is expecting to receive a verdict on her case on Monday.

If found guilty, the 11-time world champion could miss the Tokyo Games.

In a press conference in August, Vincent Lapointe vehemently denied voluntarily consuming the prohibited substance.

"I [want] people to remember: I didn't do it. But on the other hand, it was in my system and, at that time, I didn't know how it ended up there."

In search of answers, Klevinas turned to a lab in Strasbourg, France, where, through a hair analysis, it was discovered that Vincent Lapointe's former boyfriend had consumed a product containing a significant amount of Ligandrol.

Subsequent tests by Vincent Lapionte's team confirmed that the trace amounts in her body could have come from a transmission of bodily fluids between her and her then boyfriend.

"[Vincent Lapointe's] result returned negative," says Klevinas, "which meant that she had only been exposed to the product once. It was the first step to demonstrate that she was innocent."

Before arriving at this conclusion, Vincent Lapointe's team said that they revised the tests and analysis over several months.

They began by submitting her supplements as well as an amino acid used by her former partner for analysis in a laboratory approved by WADA. And according to her team, none of the products had been contaminated with Ligandrol.

Vincent Lapointe even took a polygraph test, which her team also told Radio-Canada that she passed.

We had a lead; now we had to ask questions.- Vincent Lapointe's lawyer

That's when they decided to send a sample of her boyfriend's hair to the laboratory.

A little less than two weeks later, the mystery was almost solved. According to Klevinas, the analysis revealed the presence of Ligandrol in her former boyfriend's body between the months of April and October 2019.

"There was a peak just when [Vincent Lapointe] was checked," said Klevinas. "We had a lead; now we had to ask questions."

That's when Vincent Lapointe's ex-partner finally admitted that he was also using another substance, SR9011, which he had hidden. Although Ligandrol does not appear anywhere on the ingredient list of the bottle, a large amount of this prohibited substance was found in the SR9011 sample during its analysis.

"Finally, he admitted to me that he had taken it the evening of July 25, before a soccer practice. And Laurence was tested on the morning of the 29th," Klevinas says.

According to Klevinas, the young man panicked when he saw the magnitude of the situation and all the media attention around Vincent Lapointe. That's why he didn't mention taking SR9011 before being asked about the presence of Ligandrol in the results of his hair tests, several weeks later.

Vincent Lapointe is a gold-medal contender having won a combined 11 world titles in C-1 and C-2 in her career.

With files from Radio-Canada and The Canadian Press