Doping Panel Decision Reveals Schoeman Spent $16K to Investigate Positive Test

FINA has released the full decision of the doping panel presiding over South African Roland Schoeman‘s case, which in February handed the 39-year-old a one-year suspension retroactive to May 18, 2019.

The document states that at an out-of-competition anti-doping test that day, Schoeman said he had used nine supplements in the prior seven days. On July 10, he was notified that his urine sample tested positive for GW 501516, a hormone and metabolic modulator considered to be a cancer risk. The next day, Schoeman requested that the B sample be tested and accepted a provisional suspension as of 18 July 2019.

On Aug. 19, FINA confirmed that the B sample also found a presence of GW 501516, and charged Schoeman with a violation of the FINA Doping Control Regulations. The doping panel took over jurisdiction of the case, and on Sept. 22, Schoeman requested a hearing and extra time to complete his investigation into the reason for the positive test.

Eventually, the hearing was postponed to Jan. 2020 because Schoeman was investigating “23 different products and other possible causes of the positive test.”

On Jan. 24, Schoeman contended that despite his “diligence in testing all products which he believed could reasonably have been the cause of his positive test,” and spending approximately $16,500 to do so, he did not determine the source of the positive test. But concluded that for a variety of reasons, contamination was the most likely reason.

Among those reasons was that “GW1516 is not legally permitted in any medications, supplements or foods, but anti-doping organizations have cautioned that nutritional supplements may be contaminated with this substance,” and that his tests in March and June were negative, which is inconsistent with “regular, intentional use of the substance, but consistent with possible contamination.”

Schoeman also noted that there was a “substantial delay” in notifying him of the positive test, and that “may have contributed to his inability to identify the source of his positive test” – for example, the decision notes, he wasn’t able to test the exact batches he ingested.

“Regrettably, notice to the Athlete of his positive test was delayed through no fault of the Athlete for nearly two months after sample collection and until 10 July 2019,” the decision reads. “Neither FINA nor the WADA accredited laboratory provided any explanation for this delay.”

Usually, an athlete’s first doping suspension would be two years, unless he can locate the source of contamination, which Schoeman was not able to do. The doping panel acknowledged the discrepancy and accepted the findings of the costly investigation, with the added note that FINA’s delay in notification lessened the case against him.

Despite the ban, the Olympic postponement opens the door for Schoeman to qualify for a fifth Games after he is reinstated on May 18. He would have missed South African Nationals, which were originally scheduled for April 4-9, but were rescheduled even before the delay was official.

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Olympian

Glad Roland was able to somehow clear his name.
I do believe the anti doping system has to be improved by a lot, too many mistakes lately.

Vic

There goes that contamination excuse again. Pathetic.

BobbyJones

If you’d know Roland, you’d know it wasn’t an excuse… stop putting everyone in the same basket buddy

Vic

Do have GW 501516 in your system? GW501516, also known as Cardarine or Endurobol, is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the category of “hormones and metabolic modulators.” Yes I don’t either.

Philsopher

Come on man, come with something hotter than that. Sun Yang and Yulia Efimova have friends who believe them too.

Roland spent $16,000 and still couldn’t come up with a valid excuse. Not sure I understand why that gets him off on a light punishment.

Vic

Just admit, I am sure he is not the only one taking it.
Check out one of the benefits.
Cardarine takes effect within days from when you start your cycle and the outcomes are mesmerizing. You will be able to achieve more reps at the gym without fatigue and your cardiovascular capacity will skyrocket.

Many athletes have reported being able to breathe a lot easier. Others even reported that their lungs felt much lighter when using this compound.

Long-distance runners, cyclists, and anyone involved in competitive sports can benefit from using Cardarine SARM. Bodybuilders cycling Trenbolone includes it in their stack to enjoy this benefit.

BobbyJones

The side effects dude! Wake up, At his age he’s not gonna risk it. Young athletes in search of olympic glory dont think about their lives in 10-15+ years…

DMacNCheez

Do you think a guilty man would spend 16 grand to investigate contamination if he knew it didn’t exist? Why would he waste that money?

Vic

How about tell us what supplement he was referring too.
And how exactly did he investigate for contaminationn if he said the supplement ran out.

BobbyJones

Are you serious??? He can run out but knows what he’s taking! Dude, youre trolling right?
You have a list of suppliments and a list of where you got them. You investigate all places and see who has ties with possible contaminated labs

Vic

So he didn’t find anything because there wasn’t any contamination. Hello!!

Ol' Longhorn

Exactly. He basically proved FINA’s point for them.

BobbyJones

Also true. And he really doesnt have money to waste. All of his money was needed for training for his olympic push…

Ol' Longhorn

Uh, because swimming is his only livelihood at a late age? I mean look at the result. Even FINA’s buying what he’s selling. This will be the go-to move for everyone caught with a positive test.

BobbyJones

haha No clue about Sun Yang and Efimovas cases and dont know em either… Roland is pro clean sport.. always was. The dude is a living health store.
It would be cool if everyone could find their source of contamination when they ask for it, but with the number of factors involved, its not always possible. That FINA delay being a big factor PLUS the number of suppliments.

Anonymoose

a living health store but has to take 9 supplements? yea makes sense

sven

I think almost every world class swimmer is doping, personally, and we hear the “tainted supplement” excuse so often that I’m pretty doubtful here. That said, I’m in favor of this ruling based on the procedural issues. The delay in notifying the athlete is unacceptable and does eliminate his ability to isolate a contaminated batch. Maybe one didn’t exist because he was taking that compound intentionally, but their negligence in timely communication gave him an excuse. Little procedural things, way smaller than that, have derailed large criminal cases because of the way it impacts the defendant’s ability to defend him or herself. Again, I’m a cynic and I’m tired of hearing about tainted supplements, but I think you have to… Read more »

TerpFan

Agreed. If you figure it takes a week to get back a drug test (which it does) then a week plus one day should get back to the athlete for a positive test. Many supplements/vitamins are a months supply. It handcuffs everyone involved when you take away an athletes ability to defend themselves or an agencies ability to prosecute by letting months go by and evidence dissipate. What’s an athlete supposed to do when they are unknowingly ingesting a vitamin/supplement that has previously been tested clean and is now contaminated? If a singular batch is contaminated and they weren’t notified for months down the road they are screwed. There are many things that can scientifically come into these decisions like… Read more »

Konner Scott

With Roland, Kira Toussaint, and Madisyn Cox, this breeds an interesting philosophical question…

Would you rather some percentage of dopers be able to get away with it if it means no innocent people are wrongly convicted, or would you prefer that every single person doping gets caught but a certain percentage of innocent people get thrown under the bus?

Philsopher

That’s a great philisophical question!

Here’s another one: name one non-white person who you think got screwed by the system.

Konner Scott

This question feels more political than philosophical.

Swum

That as absolutely nothing to do with the people skin color. Here we are talking about the suspicions of doping not about the genetically hasards that makes a “non-white person”

Mikeh

Well, the American legal system is built on the first alternative. We judge, generally, that society can absorb the notion that guilty people go free, more readily than it can accept that the innocent go to the dock. And thus we build accordingly – innocent until proven guilty. And guilty people go free all the time. I don’t know how a drug testing system would look that is built on this presupposition. Maybe a lawyer could say.

sven

Personally, I’d prefer the first option. Anti-doping efforts as a whole, though, are confounded by the fact that many athletes really push the boundaries of legal supplementation, increasing the chance that they’ll get a contaminated batch by taking tons of different things. For example, as mentioned in this article, Schoeman had taken nine different supplements in the previous seven days, and had a whopping 23 products in mind as other possible culprits. I also remember reading an article from years ago about a nutritionist/performance specialist of some kind who worked with Dara Torres and several other Olympians to devise a cocktail of legal supplements that attempted to mimic the effects of illegal PEDs with the stated intent of leveling the… Read more »

Mikeh

I never used to take the “contamination” excuse seriously, but I do now. We’ve seen too many athletes with very minute concentrations of banned drugs in their system, probably well under the dose needed for any meaningful effect, get caught. To me there is room for doubt.

Meanwhile the master dopers of our era, the Russians and Chinese, rarely get caught. Ryan Lochte is banned for a year, treated like a drug cheat, because he posted an Instagram photo of himself taking “too much” of a legal supplement.

It’s a flawed system.

Vic

It sounds like since Russia and China don’t get caught that you shouldn’t either? There are no contamination cases. That defense was started back in the Hardy case.

TerpFan

Contamination cases of supplements shouldn’t be too hard to defend if they are given a timely notice. Check the supplement/vitamin they have listed on their form, send it to a WADA certified lab and if the prohibited substance is in there and its not listed on the label its unnintentional. Take this even further and test the whole batch outside control of the athlete and if it is in there it’s unintentional and can be proven to be gross negligence by the manufacturer. If they are delayed in notifying the athlete then no one has an argument either way since the evidence is gone and the batch numbers are no longer known.

swimgeek

Lochte’s issue was using an I.V. drip — not that it was “too much.”

Vic

Is it illegal to use an IV drip?

KLLRWHLE79

Against the USADA rules yes.
I don’t remember the exact verbage, but it basically states you cannot take any intravenous therapy of more 100ml per 12 hour period, unless you are in a hospital or during surgery.
https://www.usada.org/athlete-advisory/iv-infusions-explanatory-note/

As far as I know, he never tested positive for any banned substance, but what he did was not allowed so he got a lesser ban.

Troyy

All this means is all an athlete needs to do is request the concentrations from WADA and then if they’re low formulate a contamination defense. WADA might as well just automatically exonerate positive tests with low concentrations.

Vic

Are you taking about a low positive or a slight positive?
How about a clean test like no positive at all.

Troyy

I’m criticising the status quo that allows contamination defenses from athletes without any actual evidence of contamination where their test showed very low concentrations. Imo if they can’t provide probable evidence of contamination the defense shouldn’t be allowed at all.

Vic

Sounds about right. I still don’t know how his 2 year ban turned to one year just by telling FINA it must have been contamination.

BobbyJones

You gotta read better bro. The swimswam news article doesnt include have all the paperwork and conversations this 16,000$ got him between the various suppliers and labs and chemists and people and workers and receptionists and lab people etc etc etc etc

Ol' Longhorn

You need to read better. Tell us where the alleged conversations were in the article. The ultimate Roland fanboy. You’re not doing him any favors in your defense here.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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