Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz handed 16-month doping ban

Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz handed 16-month doping ban


Brazilian Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Thiago Braz is set to miss the upcoming Games in Paris after he was handed a 16-month doping suspension.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body which combats doping, announced on Tuesday that Braz, who won gold in front of home fans at the 2016 Rio Olympics, tested positive for ostarine glucuronide following an in-competition test on July 2 last year.

Ostarine is categorized as an anabolic agent under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2023 list of prohibited substances and is used to enhance muscle growth and athletic performance, the AIU said.

According to the AIU, Braz argued that he did not knowingly consume ostarine but ingested it through a supplement he had been given by a sports nutritionist to improve his health.

The ban runs until November 27, 2024, though Braz has submitted an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the hope that he could still compete at the Olympics later this year.

In a statement sent to CNN Sport, a spokesperson for Braz called the 16-month ban an “extremely positive” outcome, especially given that the AIU had argued for a four-year period of ineligibility.

“Based on the understanding that the 16 months are still disproportionate to the very low level of responsibility attributable to the athlete, Thiago’s defense has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland … and is confident in either overturning the sanction or further reducing the period of imposed ineligibility,” the spokesperson said.

Braz, a two-time Olympic medalist, had been hopeful of competing in Paris this year.

A disciplinary tribunal noted that Braz, who was provisionally suspended on July 28 last year, had been “personally informed of the high risk” that the supplements he took would be contaminated with prohibited substances, but nevertheless “ignored this risk.”

The majority of the panel ruled that the 30-year-old “should have been more cautious in his trust of his medical team” but ultimately acted “with No Significant Fault or Negligence.”

In a press release, AIU head Brett Clothier said: “Athletes from Brazil, including Mr Braz, have been specifically educated about the dangers surrounding the use of supplements from compound pharmacies in Brazil.

“This has occurred via AIU online forums and AIU athlete advisory notices. In the light of these very clear warnings, it is disappointing to be dealing with such a case.”

In the same press release, the AIU said that it will consider appealing the 16-month ban.

“After two days of hearings in London, the athlete’s defense arguments prevailed, proving that Thiago Braz was actually a victim of supplement contamination (an unintentional violation with no significant fault),” said Braz’s lawyer Marcelo Franklin.

Braz won Olympic gold in Rio after a tense battle against France’s Renaud Lavillenie, who was the pole vault world record holder at the time.

He became only the sixth Brazilian to win an athletics gold medal at the Games and followed up the achievement by winning bronze in Tokyo five years later.


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