Lance Mackey, who is one of the most decorated dog mushers in the sport's history, has tested positive for methamphetamine, per Casey Grove of Alaska Public Media on Thursday (h/t Steve Gardner of USA Today).
As a result, he has been disqualified from the Iditarod, which Mackey finished 21st on March 19. His spot will be vacated.
Mackey released the following statement through the Iditarod:
"I'm tired of lying to myself, friends, family, and fans, who have all supported me, rooted for me, or been inspired by me. I apologize to all of you. The truth is that I need professional help with my latest life challenge. I am in the process of making arrangements to go to a treatment center where I can get the professional help and real change I need. I'm ready to confront this with all of my focus and determination."
Mackey is four-time winner of the Yukon Gold Quest, a 1,000-mile international race from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. He is just one of two people to win the event four times and was the first to do so thanks to a four-peat from 2005 to 2008.
The 49-year-old also pulled off a four-peat at the 1,000-mile Iditarod, winning from 2007 to 2010. Only one person, five-time champion Rick Swenson, has won the race more than four times since its inception in 1973.
Mackey is also the only person to win both races in the same year.