The passionate kissing defense worked!
U.S. Olympian Gil Roberts' defense that he tested positive for a banned substance due to passionate kissing was approved by an appeals court on Thursday, according to Rebecca Ruiz of The New York Times.
Roberts was suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for probenecid from a test in March 2017. Roberts claimed that the substance entered his system due to "frequently and passionately" kissing his girlfriend, Alex Salazar, who was sick with a sinus infection at the time. Salazar was taking Moxylong and that is how it ended up in his system.
“There could have been tongue kissing, but it was more that she kissed me so soon after taking the medicine,” Roberts said, according to the New York Times.
Salazar said that she contracted the sinus infection from a family vacation to India and saw a "chemist" who gave her a 14-day regimen of antibiotics that are now out of production. She prefers not to swallow pills and so she dumped out the contents of each capsule onto her tongue. She also mentioned the frequent and passionate kissing at the hearing last week in New York. Passport stamps, receipts and more information were provided to the arbiters.
A doctor from the University of Strasbourg was flown in from France to testify about a 2009 kissing case where tennis player Richard Gasquet had traces of cocaine in his system from kissing a woman at a Miami nightclub before playing in a tournament.
Roberts could have faced a suspension of up to four years, if he had been suspended for the positive drug test. Probenecid is considered a masking agent that could cover up other banned substance use.
The arbiters determined that it was more likely than not “that the presence of probenecid in the athlete’s system from kissing his girlfriend.” This reflects the same ruling from an preliminary independent arbiter that expedited the hearing to allow Roberts to compete at the 2017 U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento.
Roberts ran a personal best of 44.22 for second place at the U.S. Championships, which qualified him for the IAAF World Championships in London. He failed to make it out of the semifinal at worlds. Roberts did earn a silver medal as a member of the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team.