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During the past days we have heard of athletes being expelled for unruly behavior. Up until now, there were no Americans involved in the controversies surrounding this year’s Olympics, but unfortunately the time has come for an American athlete to join the unflattering ranks. Judoka Nick Delpopolo has been expelled from the Olympics for failing a drug test where he tested positive for marijuana.
Test results showed that Delpopolo had cannabis metabolites within his body the day he competed (July 30).
Delpopolo has defended himself saying that he unintentionally ate something before the Games that had marijuana baked into it: “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games.”
The American Judoka competed in the 73-kilogram class where he ended up in the seventh position, which gave him an Olympic diploma. However, according to information on the official International Olympics website, Delpopolo’s diploma from the event has been withdrawn.
The athlete has shown remorse for his behavior, despite assuring that he did not know that he was eating a banned substance: “I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake,” he said in a statement released by the USOC. “I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be.”
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky made clear that athletes have to face the consequences of with their actions: “The IOC is absolutely committed to clean competition and stringent anti-doping penalties. Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences and we absolutely support the disqualification.”
Delpopolo’s doping positive is the fifth case of use of an illegal substance since the International Olympic committee started making the tests. However, the other four athletes were caught before competition started.
Therefore, Delpopolo is the first athlete to be expelled during competition for using drugs. He joins the list of athletes who have been forced to leave London for their behavior: Greek Voula Papachristou and Swiss Morganella were sent home for inappropriate social media use, Australian rower Josh Booth was expelled for damaging a storefront while drunk, and 8 badminton players were kicked out for trying to lose their game on purpose.