What the hack? Canadian curler banned for using banned substance

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
What the hack? Canadian curler banned for using banned substance

We live in a world where a member of Canada's national curling team has been suspended for steroids, but perennially suspect New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez only ever misses games to injury.

The Canadian Curling Association announced this week that Matt Dumontelle has been suspended after failing a drug test taken after the gold medal game in last year's World Men's Curling Championships.

Dumontelle was the alternate on the Northern Ontario team led by skip Brad Jacobs, which won Canada's Tim Hortons Brier championship last year before going on to earn a silver medal at the World Curling Championships in Victoria, B.C.

A statement said he tested positive for Methandienone Metabolites, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We are disappointed to hear this news," Canadian Curling Association CEO Greg Stremlaw said in a statement. "We take the issue of doping in sports extremely seriously, and we stress repeatedly and emphatically to our athletes how important it is to respect the rules set down by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"We respect the findings of the tests, and will pursue no further action on behalf of the athlete in question. In the end, regardless of the circumstance, our athletes are solely responsible for everything that enters their body."

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With this piece of information, the heads of many uninitiated with the sport of curling, and more than a few who have spent time around the game, are likely to explode.

The immediate question many asked was: Who the hack takes steroids in curling? In fact, few who expressed shock on Twitter managed to wrap their heads around that puzzle fast enough to make jokes.

Yes, it could be seen as surprising that a professional curler might use performance enhancing products. It is a sport, after all, that is as frequently associated with cans of beer as it is with Olympic rings.

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There is no physical contact, rarely any heavy lifting (only the occasional granite stone) and the most physically exerting moments come when a player is using a broom to sweep the ice.

Considering Marge Simpson is held up among the sport's greatest, it seems an odd place to find dpoing. Make no mistake, curling is a game for athletes. Gone are the days where the best of the best are beer swillers. It now takes times in the gym to survive the rigors of competitive curling.

Dumontelle said in a statement that the positive test came from a "workout supplement" he had believed to be safe.

"Clearly, it was not and I regret that decision. I had no intentions of trying to 'beat the system,'" he said. "At the end of the day I accept that it was, and is, my responsibility to make sure that I am playing by those rules."

He added that he would not appeal the ruling and his two-year sanction will end on May 6, 2015. Dumontelle did not play during the World Curling Championships and the suspension will not affect his team’s status as silver medalists.

It will, however, change the way many people look at professional curling. And it pretty much ends any chance of Alex Rodriguez adding the sport to his repertoire.