This past weekend, The New York Times reported that wrestler Stephany Lee has been pulled off the U.S. wrestling team due to a positive drug test after she competed at the April Olympic wrestling trials. She tested positivie for marijuana metabolites. She tested clean before the event.
Lee, who is a regular user, stopped using weeks before competition, but was surprised about the negative test from the United States Anti-Doping Agency. She stated that this has been the longest she has gone without before a competition. This was her first positive test in her wrestling career.
“I’m more angry than anything at myself,” Lee said. “I’m disappointed for the people I’ve let down that have been behind me. I’m sad. I could have stopped earlier. I could have prevented this.”
The situation mirrors that of MMA fighter Nick Diaz, who tested positive for marijuana metabolites before his last match with Carlos Condit. Diaz also stated he went without smoking it weeks before his fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Diaz until February 2013.
Marijuana was banned in Olympic competition in 1998 after Canadian snowboarder and gold medalist Ross Rebagliati tested positive, but was able to keep his medal because it wasn’t on the banned list. The IOC passed the ban shortly after.
The debate continues in many sports, as advocates state there isn’t any “performance enhancing benefits” to smoking marijuana.
Like Diaz, Lee will be serving an one year suspension. The worst news is that she won’t be able to go to the Olympics in London. She only lost one period in her undefeated Olympic trials run. She was an odds on favorite to take gold.
In her place, Olympic trials runner up Ali Bernard will be representing the 72 kg weight class. She placed 5th in the Beijing Olympics.