Thorpe Sues Over Doping Allegations
Aug 4, 2008
Craig Lord

L'Equipe chose a big moment - the world champs in Melbourne - to publish news of a problem with a doping test result and now Ian Thorpe has chosen another big moment - the eve of the Olympic Games - to sue the French paper for defamation.

The article claimed that Thorpe had returned an abnormal blood test in May 2006, during the world swimming championships, with an elevated testosterone reading.

Under a headline 'Did Thorpe Cheat?', the article alleged that Thorpe was in trouble over an alleged elevated testosterone level and 'higher-than-normal' levels of luteinising hormone, which prompts the body to produce testosterone.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigated under pressure from FINA, which threatened to take the matter to the Court of Arbirtration and force a result, one way or the other. The ASADA conclusion, accepted by FINA, was: no case to answer. Any elevated hormone levels had occurred naturally, it was said.

Thorpe's lawyer appeared in the New South Wales Supreme Court to announce the action. In addition to a claim of defamation, Thorpe will also argue that privacy was invaded. The WADA Code may come to Thorpe's aid on that score, though such action would better be aimed at the mole, the indentity of whom still remains hidden.

The swimmer had said that his image had been 'forever tainted' by revelations that were made in the face of the letter and spirit of the WADA Code, which was designed not just to catch cheats but to protect the innocent.