Boar's meat or bull?


There seems to be no end to the crazy range of claims as to what and what will not test positive for nandrolone. This week, two swimmers busted for the steroid claimed that a Brazilian dish of uncastrated boars' meat was to blame. They had their appeal against four-year suspensions turned down.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne said on Wednesday it had rejected the appeals by Spain's David Meca and Slovenia's Igor Majcen, who returned the positive tests at a longdistance World Cup event in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, in January 1999.

"The swimmers contended that the high-level ratio of nandrolone metabolites was caused by the food they ingested at the hotel in which they stayed during the competition in Brazil," the CAS statement said. Apparently, for five consecutive days before the race, the swimmers ate the local dish, sarpatell, which contains pork meat as well as livers, kidneys and intestines of uncastrated boars. Not exactly the kind of diet you'd expect world-class swimmers to be on.

CAS threw out the appeal because their evidence was not sufficient to establish the standard required by the FINA rules, or that the presence of nandrolone metabolites measured in the swimmers' urine was due to the conjunction of the two following conditions, namely: (1) that the swimmers ate a dish made of flesh/offal of uncastrated boars and (2) that uncastrated boars produce nandrolone endogenously.