Ian Thorpe steroidsFormer freestyle swimmer Australian Ian Thorpe has launched a defamation suit against a French nationwide daily which alleged of an irregular drug test.

The article appeared in March last year in an online edition of L’Equipe which claimed a drug screening revealed abnormally high readings for testosterone and a hormone in Thorpe’s system.

The Olympic champion has expressed his denial after the publication. He was insistent that he had never violated anti-doping policies.

“My reputation as a fair competitor is the most valuable thing I take out of my time in swimming,” the retired champion told the media last April.

As a result of the allegation, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority launched a six-month inquiry. Said inquiry found no evidence that Thorpe used anabolic steroids to boost his athletic performance.

Thorpe’s lawyer, Tony O’Reilly, has filed a defamation claim in the NSW Supreme Court on June 24.

Thorpe, also known as the Thorpedo or Thorpey, has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian. In 2001, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship.

All major sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee, ban the use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. In many countries, anabolic steroids are classified as controlled substances.

However, sport bodies always encounter difficulties when testing for anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. This is because users of these substances could find ways to avoid detection.

Charles Yesalis, Sc. D., has voiced out this view before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and the Subcommittee on Health.

“Drug testing …,” according to Yesalis, “(is) less effective against performance-enhancing drugs that are used during training or used to enhance an athlete’s capacity to train. For example, testing can be circumvented in several ways. Generally, to avoid a positive test, athletes can determine when to discontinue use prior to a scheduled test or, in the case of an unannounced test, they titrate their dose to remain below the maximum allowable level, as is the case with testosterone.”

Anabolic steroids are commonly used in power/strength sports like bodybuilding, weightlifting and swimming. Anecdotal evidence suggests that anabolic steroids improve athlete’s performance and physique.

Anabolic steroids are not exclusively used by human athletes to boost performance. In thoroughbred racing, use of these compounds is also prevalent.