Coming Down

ISA strips gold medal from Mark Richardson for positive THC test

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Australian Mark Richardson was stripped of his 2011 ISA gold medal for testing positive for THC. Photo: Watts

The ISA has stripped Australian Mark Richardson of his gold medal for testing positive for THC at the 2011 World Masters Championships, held in El Salvador. As a result of his positive test, Richardson’s team was docked points in the event and he received a time-served, three-month sanction from the ISA.

As the result, Puerto Rico’s Carlos Cabrero has been awarded the gold, South Africa’s Gary Van Wieringen the silver, and Hawaii’s Ross Williams the bronze.

The substance that Richardson tested positive for, THC, is found in marijuana. While marijuana is not considered to be a performance-enhancing drug, it is a banned substance according to the World Anti Doping Association (WADA), of which the ISA is a signatory.

“The ISA has been conducting drug tests at every ISA World Championship since 1992. Since then, the ISA has conducted over 600 drug tests, including to all finalists at all our World Championships, and this is the first gold medalist who has tested positive,” said the ISA’s President Fernando Aguerre.

Drug testing and professional surfing has been a hot-button topic as of late. At the start of the World Tour season in March, Kelly Slater garnered international media attention when he stated that he had only been tested once last season for banned substances by the ASP.