Sometimes the kissing gets intense, and your mouth shares drugs. This was the basic defense of Gil Roberts, an Olympic gold medalist in the 4x400m relay, and that was good enough for USADA. After an initial positive test and pending suspension, the body ruled that Roberts was without fault.
Back in March, Roberts tested positive for a banned substance, and the specifics were murky at the time. Now, as detailed in a report released by USADA, Roberts said that the whole incident resulted from his girlfriend's family trip to India, where she obtained capsules administered by a "makeshift" doctor's office.
According to the report, Roberts's girlfriend, Alex Salazar, was allegedly trying to treat a sinus infection, when her step father, who speaks Hindi, connected her with a "chemist," who administered an antibiotic labeled "moxylong." Salazar returned home on March 17, and had been taking the drug for "a few weeks" when Roberts was selected for an out-of-competition test one week later. On April 14, Roberts learned he tested positive for probenecid, which is a banned masking agent. It was the first time he ever failed a drug test.
But Roberts had his account of the sequence of events lined up: "frequently and passionately kissing" Salazar was to blame. Here's one of the best paragraphs from the report:
On March 24, 2017, the date of the drug test, Ms. Salazar arrived at Roberts' apartment near noon they kissed and "chilled out." Around 1:00 or 1:30 pm, she went into the kitchen to take her medicine. She did not tell Roberts what she was doing and he did not see her take the medicine. She opened the capsule, poured the contents into her mouth, then washed it down with water. Roberts could not count the number of times they kissed between 1:00 pm and the doping control officer's arrival.
Salazar has an issue swallowing pills so she was given the drug in capsule form and ingested them in the same way each time she took them.
When Roberts learned he tested positive for probenecid, Salazar said she Googled moxylong and learned the capsule contained 500 mg of amoxicillin, and another 500 mg of probenecid. Luckily, she still had one capsule left and when the Banned Substances Control Group tested the drug, it found ".442 grams of material that tested positive for probenecid."
One of Roberts's expert witnesses in his hearing with USADA was Dr. Pascal Kintz, a drug testing expert, who argued that his "very low concentration of probenecid" wasn't enough to work as a masking agent, and was "more than likely" transmitted by some hot-and-heavy smooch time.
If you think that this whole kissing argument is new territory, you've got another thing coming. Last year, Canadian pole vaulter Shawn Barber was ruled without fault as well, after claiming the cocaine found in his system was the result of kissing a Craigslist "casual encounter" who had been doing the drug in their hotel bathroom.
The lesson here is: love is the X-factor, baby.