Athletes who claim they innocently ingested an over-the-counter medicine which, unbeknown to them, contained a banned substance, may be victims of a rogue gene which makes them far more likely to misread labels.
Welcoming the discovery, the nine Australian athletes facing bans for drug use at the Commonwealth Games said: ‘We happened by chance to visit a chemist a month before the Games and purchased, on a whim, a bulk supply of asthma medicine. Imagine our horror when our samples tested positive for steroids – we were mortified. We never once thought of looking at the label!’
And Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt, spoke movingly of a similar ordeal: ‘I remember feeling around in the larder for some Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on a pizza only to find out I’d actually picked up, by accident, a jar of Epitestosterone, a well-known agent for masking testosterone supplements. What a prize idiot I felt! At least I can prove now it really was an honest mistake.’