2-Time Canadian Olympian Markus Thormeyer Gets Doping Ban After Sharing a Water Bottle

Two-time Canadian Olympian Markus Thormeyer is two weeks from completing a 12-month suspension for an anti-doping rules violation. The suspension will expire on February 14, 2023.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport announced the suspension on Friday, saying that Thormeyer tested positive in an out-of-competition doping control test on January 19, 2022.

Thormeyer’s hearing was on October 5, 2022, though the announcement wasn’t made until four months later. The CCES says that the decision was rendered on November 9, 2022 and that the organization waited for the appeal deadline to pass before publicly announcing the suspension.

Thormeyer’s suspension was retroactively dated to February 15, 2022, when he began a provisional suspension. His last meet was the VPSC Winter Invitational in December 2021.

Thormeyer tested positive for the substance formally known as SARM LGD-4033, but marketed as the pharmaceutical Lingandrol. Ligandrol is not an anabolic steroid, but has similar effects and can be used to treat muscle weakness and stimulate muscle growth. While Ligandrol has a superior side effect profile to anabolic steroids, the FDA warns that it can lead to serious liver damage.

The substance is the same one that earned Australian Shayna Jack a four-year ban in 2019 that was ultimately reduced to 2 years.

The penalty for a first positive test for the substance can carry up to a four-year ban, but the CCES reduced that to 12 months after a finding of “no significant fault or negligence,” though it did not agree that he had “no fault or negligence.”

Thormeyer explained that the positive was caused by sharing a water bottle with his partner Chad Poloni on January 17 or 18, 2022. He says that “he had no knowledge of his partner’s use of SARMs at the time and did not know that he was using the same water bottle (that was used) to take the prohibited substance,” according to the official case file.

Thormeyer said that if he had known that his partner was taking SARMs, he would have taken precautionary steps to prevent accidental contamination.

Ligandrol is taken by mixing drops of the substance with water. Poloni is not an active elite athlete and therefore not bound to the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

The ruling would render Thormeyer ineligible for participation in the International Swimming League, if that league returns to competition after a hiatus with the same hard-line, zero-tolerance anti-doping rules. Thormeyer competed in the first two seasons of that league, first with the New York Breakers and then with the Tokyo Frog Kings.

Thormeyer has been a key leg of Canadian relays as a freestyler and backstroker for more than half-a-decade. He swam on the Canadian 400 mixed medley relay that won a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships and also won an individual gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the 100 back.

The 25-year-old hasn’t swum a long course best time since 2019. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he finished 19th in the 100 back and 16th in the 200 back. He also anchored Canada’s 4th-place 400 free relay and their 7th-place 400 medley relay in finals.

Thormeyer is the current Canadian Record holder in the 100 and 200 backstroke in long course. He also holds a pair of Canadian relay records.

Thormeyer is a former member of Swimming Canada’s Athlete’s Council and outside of sport works as a researcher at the Tseng Lab at the University of British Columbia. He is working on a Ph.D. in the department of Zoology at UBC, focusing on global insect species diversity.

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Patrick Waters
1 month ago

Markus was a Swimming Canada AAC member, Jan 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019. He is not currently on the council.

Patrick Waters
1 month ago

For clarity, Markus is not a current elected member of Swimming Canada’s Athlete Advisory Council. He was a member. Nominated on January 1, 2019 for a period of one year.

Last edited 1 month ago by Patrick Waters
1 month ago

It really does seem like Canada’s anti-doping org is going soft on him.

Layne Four
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Supposed to be 4 years for doping.

Last edited 1 month ago by Layne Four
1 month ago

Dang, Canada needs a new backstroker for the relay now

Really let. Down those other guys… or cared too much

Reply to  Teddy
1 month ago

Canada doesn’t have a competitive breaststroker anyway.

Layne Four
Reply to  Teddy
1 month ago

The former.

1 month ago

Stopped reading at “after sharing a water bottle”. Sure guy

1 month ago

Anyone that has ever used SARMs knows that there’s 0 way you don’t taste the foul chemicals in the water, and immediately ask questions about what you just consumed.

Reply to  SusSarm
1 month ago

You only need a 1/4 of a mL to get an effective dose. You don’t think that a 1/4mL dispersed in a standard 600mL water bottle could be consumed undetected?

Yes there are lots of reasons to question this explanation but I think it’s pretty inaccurate to say it’s impossible to consume them without tasting them.

Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Maybe he had trace amounts and his suspension got reduced to one year due to only taking a swig of his friend’s water bottle, plus if it was mixed with Gatorade the sugar could hide the taste better.

But if it was mixed with water, and there was a full mL in the mix (most common among people I’ve known to take it), then you’d be able to taste it without a doubt. It’s truly that potent of a taste.

Hope it was truly a mix up and the former situation is closer to the reality, but without having been present in those hearings, we’ll never know.

Reply to  SusSarm
1 month ago

Both Markus and his boyfriend had just tested positive for Covid-19, which is why they were quarantining together. I wonder if his sense of taste was altered; that was a common symptom of Covid-19 from 2020 through late 2022.

1 month ago

Ah yes, I often accidentally consume SARMs as well. Very realistic problem that everyone should definitely believe

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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