Four Olympic Jumpers Test Positive for Capsaicin; Liniment Suspected

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From the FEI, governing body of Olympic equestrian sports, comes this official notice just hours before the show jumping individual medal finals:

The following combinations will not be competing in the Jumping individual final competition held tonight (Thursday, 21 August). They have been provisionally suspended by the FEI further to doping/medication control tests that indicated the presence of capsaicin in each horse.

Bernardo Alves (BRA) on Chupa Chup
Christian Ahlmann (GER) on C?ster
Denis Lynch (IRL) on Latinus
Tony Andre Hansen (NOR) on Camiro

Capsaicin is classified as a "doping " prohibited substance, given its hypersensitizing properties, and as a "medication class A" prohibited substance for its pain-relieving properties.

As previously communicated, the FEI provisionally suspends all competitors who test positive in doping or positive medication cases at the Olympic Games in the interests of the integrity of the sport.

Christian Ahlmann was notified of his suspension yesterday evening (Wednesday, 20 August) further to receipt of the test results by the FEI from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Laboratory yesterday afternoon.

A preliminary hearing was held at 10h00 this morning (21 August) before a member of the FEI Tribunal who confirmed the suspension.

The other riders--Tony Andre Hansen, Bernardo Alves, and Denis Lynch--were notified earlier today (21 August) further to receipt of their positive test results this morning. All three of them were provisionally suspended.

Preliminary hearings were held with the respective National Federations in the following order: 14h00 - Brazil; 15h00 - Ireland; 16h00 - Norway. The hearings were held before a member of the FEI Tribunal who confirmed the suspension.

FURTHER STEPS

Confirmatory analysis of the B-samples will be carried out very shortly according to the accelerated procedure in place for the Olympic Games. Upon report of a positive B-sample result, evidence and written submissions will be requested from the rider, and a three member panel of the FEI Tribunal will be appointed. This panel should take a decision as to the applicable sanctions as early as possible further to the accelerated procedure, and providing for a hearing to be held as necessary. The competition results will be amended as indicated in the Tribunal's final decision.

(end official notice)

Blogger's note: Capsaicin is the element of hot peppers that is so effective in many "heating" liniments for humans. (Think: "Deep Heet"). According to undocumented stories from other news sources, the riders are claiming that they did not know that capsaicin was in the liniments they use.

One of the questions about capsaicin is if it relieves pain effectively, does it also deaden sensitivity on pasterns and forelegs? Many show jumpers are accused, rightly or wrongly, of attempting to heighten sensitivity on the pasterns and forelegs so horses will not want to brush against a jump or rail.

Horse Sport Ireland claims that Lynch used the linment Equiblock under his saddle pad.

Norway may be stripped of its team bronze medal. This is the first Olympics with the capability to test for capsaicin. No eventing or dressage horses tested positive for it.

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