The world of track and field, still running strong on a post-Olympic boost in popularity, just took a two-by-four to the shins.
Andre Lowe of The Jamaica Gleaner is confirming that the island nation's most decorated female athlete, Veronica Campbell-Brown, was found to have a banned masking agent (diuretic) in her bloodstream in a test administered on May 4, 2013.
The original test results ("A" sample) were confirmed by the B sample on Friday, June 14.
The diuretic itself is not known to be a performance-enhancing drug. However, it is commonly used to quickly eliminate traces of illegal drugs from the body and athletes are made aware of its prohibition.
At this time, there has been no reference to an actual performance-enhancing drug (PED) used by the athlete. An official release by the IAAF (track's international governing body) is forthcoming.
Campbell-Brown, 31, is a two-time Olympic champion and the reigning world champion in the 200-meter dash. She is also a former world champion in the 100.
Considering Campbell-Brown's worldwide popularity and long record of success, this incident has the potential to become the sport's most high-profile drug-related controversy since the downfall of American sprinting icon Marion Jones.
UPDATE - Tuesday, June 18: Lowe is now reporting that Campbell-Brown declared the use of a "product" before her random drug test in May. The product is assumed to be the diuretic in question.
Diuretics, such as Lasix are most commonly prescribed for patients with congestive heart disease.
There are still many unanswered questions surrounding this development. We're still waiting for an announcement from the IAAF.
UPDATE - Thursday, June 20: IAAF spokesman Nick Davies is attempting to cool down the VCB controversy by warning that even though the case is still open, evidence to date indicates an inadvertent ingestion (or application) of the banned diuretic—hence, a finding of a lesser violation and corresponding penalty is possible.
Stay tuned for updates as more information filters in.
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