Lovemaking marathon cause of drug test failure - athlete

 

The first car sticker to claim that anyone made better lovers gave the honour to runners. Now Dennis Mitchell, the Olympic gold medallist, has proved this may be true after it emerged yesterday that he was let off his recent doping ban after claims that he had sex four times the night before he was tested.

The American sprinter claimed that the reason he had tested positive for the muscle-building hormone, testosterone, was that he had made love to his wife four times the evening before he was selected for an out-of-competition test last April.

He presented scientific evidence to an appeal of the USA Track and Field in Chicago that having sex and drinking six bottles of beer had caused his body to produce extra quantities of testosterone, which led to him failing the test. It accepted his defence and lifted a two-year suspension.

But Mitchell may not be able to make his defence stand up if the International Amateur Athletic Federation refers his case to its arbitration panel, as it is almost certain to do. "We know what the reasons are," said Mr Giorgio Reineri, the spokesman for the IAAF. "Under special circumstances the level of testosterone can increase. But it seems to the IAAF that the justification is a little weak."

If Mitchell's claim is accepted by the arbitration panel, it could mean the global anti-doping system will collapse. Such a legal precedent would make it impossible to remove the possibility of reasonable doubt because anyone who failed a drug test could claim they drank alcohol or had sex the night before.

But Dr David Cowan, the head of the Chelsea drug testing laboratory in London, dismissed the possibility of sex and beer causing an athlete's level of testosterone to rise to a level where they would fail a drugs test.