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US athlete expelled for eating food baked with marijuana

August 6, 2012
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photo - American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo (AP) Photo by
American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo (AP) Photo by  

LONDON — American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo became the first of the 10,500 athletes at London Games to fail an in-competition doping test, and his explanation certainly is eye-catching. He says he unintentionally ate something before the games that had been baked with marijuana.

Delpopolo was expelled from the Olympics on Monday for doping as the fifth positive test for a banned substance reported by the IOC since the Olympic body started its London testing program in mid-July. The other four were caught before competing.

The 23-year-old judoka from Westfield, N.J., said his positive test was "caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana" before he left for the Olympics.

"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. "I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be."

The International Olympic Committee said it disqualified him from the 73-kilogram class, where he placed seventh. The IOC added that he tested positive for metabolites of cannabis after competing on July 30.

The IOC said it will strip him of his accreditation immediately and will ask the International Judo Federation to alter the standings in Delpopolo's event. The IOC also requested that judo's governing body "consider any further action within its own competence."

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement that his group 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, according to his official Olympic biography, was born Petra Perovic in the former Yugoslavia. He was adopted by an American family who changed his name.

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