Olympics Put Spotlight on Athletes’ Marijuana Use

Two marijuana-related incidents before and during the Olympics are putting the spotlight on athletes and illegal drug use, according to USA Today. American wrestler Stephany Lee missed the Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana, and judo fighter Nicholas Delpopolo was expelled Monday after failing a drug test he said was caused by accidentally eating food baked with marijuana.

Lee pointed out that swimmer Michael Phelps is celebrated as the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, even though he was photographed inhaling from a marijuana pipe in 2009. He apologized and received a three-month suspension from USA Swimming. He never failed a drug test, the article notes.

“It’s a double standard,” Lee told the newspaper. “If you already make a name for yourself, then what happens afterward really doesn’t matter.” She estimated that at least 50 Olympic athletes use marijuana regularly, and stop in time for testing.

“We all regulate our consumption,” she said. “It’s not like we have to do a competition and we are continuously on this; that’s not how it works. We know when the tests are going to be because they come to the biggest events. A month before this I am not going to do this anymore, just for the simple fact that you’ll have to clean your system.”

In an email to the newspaper, U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) spokesman Patrick Sandusky, said, “The USOC fully supports the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code, and we will follow up with this athlete about her comments.”

11 Responses to Olympics Put Spotlight on Athletes’ Marijuana Use

  1. SarahB1 | August 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Ms. Lee seems to have a problem with denial. As somebody in recovery myself, I won’t be surprised if she runs into further problems down the road. To think that she killed her opportunity to compete in the Olympics is sad and disappointing. I wish her the best.

  2. Lisa | August 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    What a shame she wishes to represent America yet openly admits to participating in an activity that is illegal in America — not to mention participating in something clearly not beneficial to her health. Not a role model and not someone I want representing my country.

  3. Concerned Citizen | August 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Just another couple casualties in the failed war on drugs. Prohibition with regard to this substance wrecks more lives than the substance itself ever would. These people rose to the top ranks in their sport and are among the elite worldwide in what they pursue. Just how has use of the substance held them back exactly? The arbitraty laws created by people did the damage here.

    • Bill Hall | August 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Well, besides being against the law, Olympic participants are role models by default and need to live up to certain things say like: adulthood, ethics, integrity and servant-leadership. It’s obvious that those who think smoking a lil weed now and then and then claim to represent American values do nothing of the sort. The adults in this society are tireing of the adolescent behavior of those who have failed to grow up, be responsible, be accountable and fail to be good citizens.

  4. Fred C | August 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    It is probably true that many atheletes smoke MJ. Is this because they know it will not affect their olympic level performance?
    This athelete is really being punished becuse she didn’t quit in time for the tests.
    Lesson: If you do it, please learn to be more discrete, and heaven help you if you defend yourself in the press.

  5. Scott Smith | August 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Whether we are pro pot laws or anti pot laws, we have laws on the books now that prohibit use of the substance. Until that changes people risk consequences when they use and blaming the law for violating the law is irrational. That said, I don’t use alcohol or any drugs but it seems to me that alcohol is much more dangerous than cannabis but cannabis is not without its consequences too-neither are healthy by the way-so it does seem a bit confusing that cannabis remains illegal while alcohol is the beverage of choice as a nation causing untold destruction in thousands of lives every year.

  6. Don | August 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

    PLEASE! Cannabis is an Herb which has no business on the Controlled Substances List! It was only temporarily put on that list until the Shafer Commission released it`s findings, And after it was found that the final report issued its recommendation that marijuana offenses not be a crime, Nixon went ballistic! Just need to look at Nixon`s racial remarks about Jew`s and “They`re All on Drugs” Paranoia! Looking back on History I now see that the Man (Nixon) was not only corrupt but he was just NOT right in the head either!!!

    • Amber | August 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      So Don, if it is an herb do you often find yourself cooking with it?

    • Betsey | August 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Please… getting off topic here, Nixon? I tire of people arguing that marijuana should be legal because it is an herb. Opiate substances come from a flower, and we are not arguing to make abuse of opiate substances legal. Laws are often arbitrary and our country has a process for changing things if one believes that should be the course of action. For now, marijuana is illegal. Olympic level athletes certainly know this. Marijuana is also not good for athletes, so whether you believe it should be legal or not, it IS not legal and I find it disturbing that an athlete who desires to compete at the Olympic level does not have the control to abstain from the substances he or she knows are illegal and knows he or she will be tested for such, not to mention the not good for you thing. Is there a problem here? very possible.

      • Amber | August 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        *thumbs up* Betsey

    • John | August 30, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Thank you for bringing up the Shafer Commission! That essentially proves to my satisfaction that the War on Marijuana is nothing but demagoguery. Here is a commission Nixon deliberately staffed with anti-drug conservatives that said: The legal, economic, and personal harm done by prohibition outweighs any harm the substance itself could realistically cause. Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. (Aside: that piece of legislation is the biggest misnomer in history. The idea of “Controlling” a substance by criminalizing it, thereby making it impossible to regulate in any regard, is hilarious. Or would be, if the outcome of the government’s attempts weren’t so tragic.) If a law has no practical or moral basis, breaking that law is no reflection on a person’s character. The vindictiveness and cultural chauvinism that underlies the C.S.A. certainly is.

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