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Olympic Sprint Champion Campbell-Brown Cleared of Drug Violation

Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown
Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown takes the applause after winning the women's 100 meters at the Jamaica international invitational in 11.01 seconds at the national stadium in Kingston on May 4, 2013. Photographer: Ricardo Makyn/AFP/Getty Images

Sport’s highest court cleared double Olympic 200-meter champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of doping, 13 days after Jamaica’s track and field association gave her a two-year suspension for taking a banned substance.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport said in an e-mailed statement today that it upheld her appeal. The athlete had argued “there was no valid or admissible evidence upon which to find that she had committed an anti-doping rule violation and that accordingly, no consequences could be imposed on her,” the court said.

Campbell-Brown, 31, tested positive for a banned diuretic May 4 at the Jamaica International Invitational meet. Jamaica’s Gleaner newspaper reported that before her test, she notified anti-doping officials that she’d taken medication, although she hadn’t sought a so-called therapeutic-use exemption that allows athletes to use certain banned substances to treat medical conditions.

Diuretics are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for their ability to mask the presence of performance-enhancing drugs.

Campbell-Brown was provisionally suspended by her home federation on June 16 pending an investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The IAAF concluded that the ban should remain in place, and on Feb. 10 recommended that the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association impose a two-year ban.

The athlete argued that WADA testing standards had been violated, “thus compromising the integrity of the urine sample collected,” the CAS said.

‘I Press On’

The Swiss court said it had set aside the IAAF and the Jamaican federation’s decisions, and that it would issue the grounds for its ruling in a few weeks.

Campbell-Brown plans to return to competition.

“I harbor too much self-respect and a similar respect for the purity of competition to resort to illegal means to success,” she said in a statement on the website of her management company, the Atlanta-based On Track Management Inc. “I lost out on the opportunity to compete for most of 2013 and the chance to defend my world 200-meter title, however, I press on.”

Campbell-Brown won the 200 meters and 400-meter relay gold medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and retained her 200-meter title in Beijing four years later. She also won the 100 meters at the 2007 World Championships and the 200 meters in 2011.

In all she’s won 16 medals at Olympic and World Championship meets, including a bronze in the 100 meters at London’s 2012 Games, where she also was a member of Jamaica’s silver medal-winning sprint relay team.

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