Canada’s show jumping team has been expelled from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in a Dec. 17, 2019 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s show jumping team dropped from Tokyo 2020 for doping violation

Canada’s show jumping team has been expelled from next summer’s Tokyo Olympics because of a doping violation.

Nicole Walker of Aurora, Ont., is appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying she inadvertently ingested a cocaine metabolite by drinking coca tea during last summer’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

“The team deserves to go to the Olympics,” Walker said Tuesday in a statement. “My priority right now is to continue to fight for the Canadian equestrian team.”

The 26-year-old placed fourth in the individual event.

She then helped Canada qualify for the 2020 Olympics with another fourth in the team event alongside Eryn Ballard, Lisa Carlsen and Mario Deslauriers.

The Pan Am Games was Canada’s last chance to qualify for Tokyo.

The team had to finish in the top four to be among the 20 countries competing for Olympic team gold in 2020.

Walker tested positive for Benzoylecgonine in a sample taken the day of the team final Aug. 7 in Lima.

She had a hearing Dec. 4 with the Pan Am Sports disciplinary commission, which disqualified her scores in the individual and team events, the international governing body of equestrian (FEI) said in a statement.

In team show jumping, the lowest score among four riders is dropped from the team total. Walker’s disqualified scores were replaced by Carlsen’s.

Canada tumbled from fourth to seventh. Argentina moved up from fifth to claim the last Olympic berth.

“There is no basis in fact or law to disqualify Canada from the 2020 Olympics,” Walker’s lawyer Tim Danson said in a statement.

“Canada qualified for the Olympics fair and square even if the scores Nicole earned after she drank the coca tea are discounted.”

The coca plant contains alkaloids that can be chemically extracted to concoct cocaine.

While coca and coca leaves are illegal in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, coca tea is legal and consumed in several South American countries.

Coca tea is considered an altitude sickness remedy in Peru.

If Walker is unsuccessful in her appeal to CAS, Canada can send only one rider to Tokyo to compete in the individual event.

Equestrian Canada is backing Walker’s appeal.

“EC remains firmly committed to clean sport and to standing behind our athletes,” the organization said in a statement.

“We fully support Nicole’s decision to bring an appeal forward to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”

Walker is the daughter of Belinda Stronach, president and chairman of The Stronach Group and former member of Parliament from 2004 to 2008.

The Canadian team of Yann Candele, Tiffany Foster, Eric Lamaze and Amy Millar lost a jump-off for the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Lamaze, Ian Millar, Jill Henselwood and Mac Cone won a silver medal in 2008.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2019.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Country Music Awards this weekend in Red Deer

The Alberta country music awards are in Red Deer this Sunday. Country… Continue reading

Cold snap likely knocked down some mountain pine beetles in central Alberta but not all

It was cold during last week’s deep freeze in central Alberta, but… Continue reading

Central Alberta man would like to preserve Red Deer’s scout hut

City of Red Deer receives a written proposal

Fatal collision on Highway 11 west of Red Deer

Westbound lanes closed on Highway 11

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

David Marsden: Drug addicts deserve our care

The provincial government, rather than seizing an opportunity, is flirting with putting… Continue reading

Questions linger over investigation into Jeff Bezos’ hacking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Cybersecurity experts said Thursday there were still… Continue reading

Grounded Boeing jet holds back profits, growth at airlines

DALLAS — The three big U.S. airlines that own Boeing 737 Max… Continue reading

New virus could disrupt global economy as markets, consumers change behaviour

MONTREAL — A deadly new virus that emerged in China is raising… Continue reading

Cannabis price gap increases, as illegal cannabis prices fall: StatCan

The gap between what Canadians pay for legal and illicit cannabis is… Continue reading

Practical tips for a healthier winter

Many people dread the dark days of winter. Having to spend time… Continue reading

Most Read