Swimmer Markus Thormeyer has received a 12-month suspension after unintentionally ingesting a banned substance during a COVID-19 lockdown last year.
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced on Friday (Feb. 3) that Thormeyer — a 25-year-old two-time Olympian from Tsawwassen who holds multiple national records — had been sanctioned after a urine sample collected during out-of-competition doping control on Jan. 19, 2022, revealed the presence of SARM LGD-4033, a prohibited anabolic agent.
SARM LGD-4033 is designed to treat muscle wasting and weakness associated with aging and must be taken in liquid form by mixing drops of the substance with water. SARM is clear and does not discolour the water, nor does it noticeably change the taste.
Subsequent to the CCES’s notification of the “adverse analytical finding,” Thormeyer accepted the violation and a voluntary provisional suspension effective Feb. 15, 2022.
Thormeyer and the CCES also jointly requested a hearing to determine the appropriate period of ineligibility.
Following a hearing on Oct. 5, 2022, arbitrator Yves Fortier confirmed that since Thormeyer had unknowingly ingested the prohibited substance, he bore “no significant fault or negligence” for the violation.
Accordingly, Fortier concluded that a 12-month period of ineligibility commencing on Feb. 15, 2022 — the date of Thormeyer’s provisional suspension — would be “fair, just, reasonable and appropriate.”
During that time, Thormeyer is ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport signatory to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, including by training with teammates.
His ineligibility will end on Feb. 14, 2023.
In his joint submission to the hearing with the CCES, Thormeyer said he had unknowingly ingested the SARM when he drank from a water bottle in his partner Chad Poloni’s home while recovering from a bout of COVID-19.
Thormeyer said that while he was aware Poloni had taken SARM recreationally as part of his fitness regime in the past, Poloni had told him as recently as November of 2021 that he had stopped taking the drug, and Thormeyer “fully trusted” Poloni to tell him if he decided to use SARM again.
That December, the couple traveled to Hawaii for New Year’s, with a scheduled return to Vancouver on Jan. 5, 2022. However, Poloni was forced to remain in Hawaii after an inconclusive COVID test, and Thormeyer chose to stay at Poloni’s home in case he was positive as he did not want to infect his roommate.
Thormeyer tested positive on Jan. 8 or 9 and quarantined at Poloni’s home, where he remained while recovering from the illness. Poloni returned home on Jan. 17 and, without telling Thormeyer, resumed taking SARM.
It is believed Thormeyer ingested SARM the evening of Jan. 17 or 18 by drinking from Poloni’s water bottle beside the bed they shared.
The joint submission noted Thormeyer has never had an adverse analytical finding or anti-doping rule violation despite years of testing.
It further highlighted his work outside the pool, including the leadership role he has taken on in the LGBTQI2S community since publicly coming out in 2016, and his academic success (he began his PhD in zoology at UBC two months after competing at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021).