You thought the Rio Olympics yarns were exhausted, didn’t you? You couldn’t be more wrong.
Canadian pole vault star Shawn Barber – who was the country’s great white hope to score gold at Rio – ended up being a bit of a disappointment, only coming 10th after barely scraping scraping through the qualifying round.
Turns out he was permitted to compete in the Olympics despite the fact he had tested positive for cocaine only a month earlier at the Canadian championships in Edmonton, in a decision that only made public today. But it was the way he tested positive for coke that is particularly bizarre: he apparently ingested it accidentally while kissing someone he met on Craigslist.
Basically, he posted an ad on the site’s ‘casual encounters’ section the night before his competition – for stress relief, apparently – looking to meet a woman who was “professional” and “drug and disease free”. He later met a woman at an Edmonton hotel who, unbeknownst to him, used cocaine before they had sex.
“I didn’t know that kissing a girl could transfer coke,” Barber said on a conference call during proceedings. “I didn’t know I could test positive.”
Barber’s lawyers attempted to defend him using a similar case as precedent. Tennis player Richard Gasquet claimed that he tested positive for cocaine after kissing a woman at a club – which authorities conceded was a risk he could not foreseeably have known about. Barber’s team said his situation was the same, with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport ruling that he did not do all he could to avoid risk that evening.
There’s a lesson to be learned here: if you’re an elite athlete, it may be a bad idea to organise a root through Craigslist the night before you perform. It may not be worth it.
Photo: Getty Images / Christian Petersen.