The Court of Arbitration for Sport has lifted Brazilian Olympian sprinter Gabriel Santo’s one-year suspension, the organization announced Friday.
Santos initially received an initial suspension in July after testing positive for the anabolic steroid Clostebol, getting eight months retroactive to May 20. That would have made him eligible to compete again in January 2020. Then, his suspension was extended to a full year, until May 2020, which would have rendered him ineligible to compete at the Maria Lenk Trophy and thus lose his chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Santos appealed to CAS, requesting that either no period of ineligibility be imposed on him, or, that the minimum available sanction be applied to him.
While CAS did find him to have committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV), the arbiters ruled that he bears no fault or negligence for the matter, and revoked his period of ineligibility. CAS noted that the FINA Doping Panel concluded in its original decisions that the source of the prohibited substance was “cross-contamination through the sharing of bathroom towels and products with a family member who had been using Clostebol under medical prescription.”
“It was accepted by the parties that the presence of Clostebol in Gabriel Da Silva Santos’s sample was non-intentional and arose from cross-contamination,” CAS announced in its decision. “The CAS Panel unanimously found that in the circumstances of this case, no fault or negligence should be attributed to the athlete for the ADRV. In view of this finding, the Panel applied Article 10.4 of the FINA Doping Control Rules, which sets out that where a finding of No Fault or Negligence is made, any otherwise applicable period of ineligibility shall be eliminated entirely. Accordingly, the one-year period of ineligibility imposed by the FINA Doping Panel on Gabriel Da Silva Santos has been eliminated and is no longer in force.”
Santos was originally named to the Brazilian team for the 2019 FINA World Championships. At the 2017 Championships in Budapest, he placed 14th in the 100 freestyle and went 48.30 leading off Brazil’s silver medal-winning 400 free relay. His lifetime best of 47.98 came in 2018 at Brazil Trials, and he won a gold medal that year in the 400 free relay at the Pan Pacific Championships.
At the 2019 Brazil Trophy, he went 48.45 in the 100 free, which ranked him 22nd in the world prior to his suspension.
Santos was originally slated to compete in the International Swimming League for the DC Trident, but was suspended per the league’s zero-tolerance policy for swimmers who have served doping suspensions. Under that policy, it’s expected that he would no be deemed eligible to once again compete in the ISL.