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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Nags on the fags and dodgy doping
By BBC Sport Online's Paul Fletcher

When racehorse Young Whack romped to victory in the Racing To Please You Beginners' Steeplechase at Navan, trainer Noel Meade was pleased as punch.

But matters took a turn for the worse this week as the Turf Club in Dublin disqualified the horse because the seven-year-old had failed a drugs test.

The illegal substance that brought shame on Meade and Irish racing? Nicotine.

Really, it's high time Young Whack left the Camels well alone.

A slightly bemused Meade was left to reflect: "Young Whack will make a hell of a horse when we get him off the fags."

No-one is quite sure how Young Whack managed to test positive but the beast is by no means on his own when it comes to drugs, sport and the simply absurd.

Dennis Mitchell

Mitchell failed a drugs test when a urine sample detected an illegal level of muscle building hormone testosterone in his bloodstream.

Mitchell was legless after five beers
Mitchell was legless after five beers

However the athlete, who won 100m bronze at the 1992 Olympics, maintained the testosterone pumping around his body had nothing to do with banned substances.

It seems the night before the test was taken Mitchell was at home, love-doctor Barry White was on the stereo and the inevitable happened.

The sprinter explained he had made love to his wife four times while ploughing his way through five bottles of beer - hence the high levels still in his body.

Mitchell eventually received a two-year ban from athletics and introduced a rota system at home to prevent future mishaps.

Michelle Smith

The Irish swimmer was banned for four years after being found guilty of tampering with a urine sample.

The problems started when the triple Olympic gold medallist underwent a random out-of-competition urine test.

Suspicion was aroused when laboratory inspection revealed the sample had "a very strong whisky odour."

Further investigation showed the sample contained traces of whisky "in no way compatible with human consumption."

Either Smith had drunk more whisky in one night than Oliver Reed could handle in, well, a few days at least, or something fishy was at hand.

Maybe Smith had spent too much of her time listening to Thin Lizzy's 'Whisky in the Jar'.

Michel Pollentier

In 1978 Belgian rider Michel Pollentier was leading the Tour de France after winning the classic mountain climb to Alpe d'Huez.

Clearly worried by something in his body, he tried using a team-mate's urine to fox the drug testers.

The method of delivery? A plastic pipe down his shorts.

At first officials thought Pollentier had been bestowed with a special gift from the Gods.

Unfortunately for Pollentier the truth soon emerged and he was thrown off the race.

Ross Rebagliati

The Canadian snowboarder won gold in the men's giant slalom at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan.

But a drugs test revealed an illegal level of marijuana in the competitor's bloodstream and he was stripped of his gold.

Rebagliati even tried to smoke his medal
Rebagliati even tried to smoke his medal

Outraged, Rebagliati claimed he had not smoked dope since April 1997.

Instead he said the high levels (what else would they be?) of marijuana in his body must have been due to passive inhalation at a going-away party.

Rebagliati was eventually reinstated on a technicality and celebrated with a weekend in Amsterdam.

Irish greyhounds

Of course if you don't want a particular drug in your sport, it's important to make sure it is a banned substance.

To this end the Irish greyhound racing board have recently outlawed male sex-enhancing drug Viagra.

The board claim there is no solid evidence the big V could enhance racing performance.

But they aren't taking any chances after a report suggested that Viagra was "the best thing since sliced bread" for improving dog speed.

Irish greyhounds were thought to be heartbroken to hear the news but the step was absolutely necessary if greyhound racing is to remain a family event.

See also:

26 Jul 01 |  World Athletics
Positive Russian Worlds bound
25 Jul 01 |  Other Sports
Thorpe calls for more drugs tests
24 Jul 01 |  Drugs in Sport
Chinese trio given doping bans
Links to more Funny Old Game stories are at the foot of the page.


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