One of Canada’s top medal contenders in next year’s Tokyo Olympics has been provisionally suspended for a doping violation, but Laurence Vincent-Lapointe insists she did “nothing wrong.”
The canoeist from Trois-Rivieres, Que., won’t race at the sprint world championships this week in Szeged, Hungary after a positive test recently.
In accordance with the International Canoe Federation’s anti-doping rules, Vincent-Lapointe has been provisionally suspended pending the final outcome of her case. The International Canoe Federation says a full hearing will be held at a later stage.
Canoe Kayak Canada says the substance found in Vincent-Lapointe’s sample has been the subject of recent established contaminated supplement cases. The organization says the preliminary information supports that the finding may have “been caused by inadvertent and unknowing use of a prohibited substance from such a source.”
An ICF spokesperson said they are not revealing the substance at this time.
“I am shocked and completely devastated by this situation because I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. I am a person of integrity and any form of cheating disgusts me,” Vincent-Lapointe said in a statement. “I believe in clean sport and it is what I apply as a principle in my life as an athlete. I would never put my name, my reputation, or my career at risk to improve my performances and widen the gap with my opponents.
“This feels like a nightmare; I still cannot believe what has happened. Since learning of my positive test just a few days ago, I have done everything possible, with the support of CKC and within a short period of time, to determine the source of the prohibited substance that was found in my sample so that I can prove that I am innocent and that I am an honest and clean athlete.”
Women’s sprint canoe is set to make its Olympic debut next year in Tokyo. Vincent-Lapointe, 27, has won 11 career gold medals at the world championships.
Canoe Kayak Canada says Vincent-Lapointe will speak at a press conference Tuesday.
“CKC fully supports Laurence in this extremely difficult and unfortunate situation and we will do everything we can to help her prove her innocence,” Canoe Kayak Canada CEO Casey Wade said.
“CKC firmly believes in clean sport, but we also have strong reason to believe that Laurence has taken all of the necessary precautions from an anti-doping perspective and that she has not knowingly or intentionally taken a prohibited substance. We will continue to assist Laurence in determining how this unfortunate situation could have occurred.”
Vincent-Lapointe has won six C1-200 world titles, four C2-500 gold medals, and one C1-5000 championship.
“We are very disappointed this has happened on the eve of our biggest event of the year,” ICF secretary-general Simon Toulson said.
The Canadian Press