The latest scandal to hit the Olympics world broke Monday (Aug. 6), with American judo grappler Nick Delpopolo banned from the games after a positive drug test.
The 33-year-old judoka tested positive for the presence of metabolites of cannabis following his July 30th match. He claims that he ingested the marijuana by eating a pot-laced brownie.
Saying he is “embarrassed by this mistake,” Delpopolo explains in a statement released by the U.S. Olympic Committee that his drug use was unintentional. “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.”
“I look forward to representing my country in the future,” he tells the AP, “And will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be.”
The first of London’s 10,500 participants to fail an in-competition drug test, Delpopolo is the fifth athlete overall to test positive. The other four tested positive after the program began in mid-July but before the games began.
United States Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky says that the team supported Delpopolo’s disqualification. “[We are] absolutely committed to clean competition,” he tells the AP. “Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences.”
Delpopolo had beaten opponents from Belgium and Hong Kong, but lost to fighters from Mongolia and South Korea. The International Olympic Committee, in announcing its disqualification of the judo fighter, said that he had placed seventh. The IOC has plans, however, to ask the International Judo Federation to alter the standings in the wake of the Delpopolo revelation.
The IOC also requested that the IJF “consider any further action within its own competence,” hinting that Delpopolo’s penalties may not end with his disqualification from the Summer 2012 games.
Born in Niksic, Montenegro, Nicholas Delpopolo was adopted by an American family and grew up in New Jersey. According to the Olympic website, he currently resides in Wakefield, Massachusetts.