American Olympic boxer Ginny Fuchs cleared of doping violation caused by sex
Exoneration of guilt for her failed doping test caps a stressful month
U.S. Olympic team boxer Virginia Fuchs will face no punishment for failing a doping test after the U.S. Anti-Doping Association determined the violation had been caused by two substances transmitted by her boyfriend through sex.
USADA announced its ruling Thursday clearing the 32-year-old Fuchs, who intends to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year as a flyweight.
Fuchs has served as a recent captain of the U.S. Olympic team, which returned to Colorado Springs this week for its first training camp since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fuchs learned in March that she had tested positive for two banned substances during an out-of-competition test in February. While investigating the tests, USADA learned Fuchs' partner had been taking products that included the two banned substances, and the levels of Fuchs' violations were consistent with recent exposure through sexual transmission.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said his organization confirmed Fuchs' violation only because it was required to do so.
"While the World Anti-Doping Code requires that this no-fault finding be considered a violation and be publicly announced, we strongly believe this case and others like it, including meat contamination and prescription medication contamination cases, should be considered no violation," Tygart said. "We will continue to advocate for changes to the World Anti-Doping Code so that where there is no intent to cheat and no performance benefit, an athlete should not face any violation or unnecessary public attention."
Fuchs didn't want to comment about the tests beyond a statement issued by USA Boxing: "I had no idea that I could become contaminated by way of intimate contact with another person. I want to thank USA Boxing for believing in me and supporting me throughout these past few difficult months."
It was the end to a tumultuous couple of weeks for Fuchs. Just last week, Fuchs' close friend and training partner, professional boxer Mikaela Mayer, tested positive for COVID-19. The former U.S. Olympian was forced to miss her comeback fight in Las Vegas, even though her test might have been a false positive.
Through it all, Fuchs is still fighting.
"Everybody is struggling right now," Fuchs said. "I'm not the only one."
When the Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed around the same time she received her positive test, Fuchs admits she thought briefly about joining Mayer in the professional ranks.
But Fuchs has been focused on the Olympics since shortly after she took up boxing in her sophomore year of college at LSU. She didn't make the U.S. team for the debut of women's boxing at the London Olympics in 2012, and she fell just short of qualification for the Rio Olympics four years later.
Fuchs was determined not to miss out on her third and best shot, no matter what obstacles the world has thrown in her way.
"My first goal in boxing was always to be an Olympian and get a gold medal," Fuchs said. "That's why I waited another four years (after Rio). All of these last four years, I worked hard for it. It's not going to go to waste. I still want to get that gold medal."
Fuchs and most of her U.S. teammates still must secure a spot in Tokyo in two qualifying tournaments to be held within the next year.