The Accidental Stoner, and Other Sports Catastrophes

Judoka Nick Delpopolo was expelled from the Olympics on Monday after an in-competition doping test revealed he had cannabis in his system. Delpopolo has admitted to eating food baked with marijuana, but says that he did so inadvertently.

Delpopolo is a 23-year old American Judo fighter who was born in the former Yugoslavia and adopted by American parents. He had originally finished 7th in his Olympic weight class—73 kilograms—but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stands poised to strip Delpopolo of both his wins and his accreditation.

Nick Delpopolo, the accidental stoner. (Examiner.com)

While it’s sad to see a young athlete’s dream asphyxiated in a cloud of hydroponic dope smoke, I can only giggle when I read some of the half-baked excuses these athletes give for their indiscretions.

Delpolpolo said he accidentally ate weed brownies. That scenario is about as likely as John Travolta being straight. I’m sorry, but no straight man moves his hips with such forceful wonder, and few straight men over the age of 22 routinely grab other guys’ crotches. I have nothing against Mr. Travolta or gay people, but when the facts don’t add up, they don’t add up. It’s something less than science and more than deduction.

Barry Bonds, one of the greatest sluggers of baseball’s steroid era, famously claimed that he thought his trainer was injecting him with flaxseed oil instead of human growth hormone, or HGH. Incidentally, Bonds thought that the stars are teenie white dragonflies trapped in space and that molasses is heroin.

Justin Gatlin, the sprinter who just won bronze in the 100m final yesterday, was banned from Olympic competition for 4 years when he tested positive for testosterone in 2006. Gatlin claimed that a vindictive masseuse had rubbed testosterone cream into his legs.

And the pièce de résistance, brought to you by topendsports.com:

Czech tennis player Petr Korda tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone after a match at Wimbledon in 1998. He claimed he failed the test because he had eaten too much nandrolone-fattened veal. Scientists determined he would have to eat 40 calves a day for 20 years to achieve such high levels of nandrolone in his body.

Apparently, English doping monitors are unfamiliar with the popular Czech sports saying: “40 calves a day for 20 years and you’re guaranteed to win in tennis.”

Czech tennis star and veal enthusiast Petr Korda turned out to be a cheater. (imageshack.us)

Poor Delpopolo. He already has a name that sounds like an Italian cheese variety. Now he’s the honorary guest of a group of people who didn’t fess up when they’re caught breaking the rules. No one likes a cheat. But a stubborn cheat who can’t admit to himself or others when he’s done something wrong really pisses us off.

The worst part about the debacle: since when is weed a performance enhancing drug? Weed probably hurts your chances of Olympic glory, if anything. Weed should be on the list of substances encouraged by the IOC for athletes who are clearly superior and want to challenge themselves by spotting their competitors a handicap. “Oh, you’re from Kazakhstan? Well, let me shoot myself in the foot to even things out a bit.” Good old British civility!

But rules are rules, I guess. As soon as they’re made, they’re made to be broken.

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