Several horses and their riders tested positive for doping agents at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games held in Hong Kong, The latest, and the last, rider to lose his medal was the Norwegian rider Tony Andre Hansen whose horse tested positive for capsaicin, or pepper powder. (That's Hansen and his ride Camino, apparently kissing the medal goodbye). To the Canadian Press:
Hansen was disqualified by the International Equestrian Federation and banned from the sport for 4 1/2 months. Hansen, 29, was the best performer in a four-rider Norway team which won bronze under a scoring system where the top three count.
Without his scores, his Norway teammates - Morten Djupvik, Stein Endresen, and Geir Gulliksen - drop out of medal contention.
The fourth-placed Switzerland team of Steve Guerdat, Christina Liebherr, Niklaus Schurtenberger and Pius Schwizer will now be awarded the bronze medals by the International Olympic Committee.
The United States won gold, beating Canada in a jumpoff in Hong Kong, where the equestrian events were staged last August.
Hansen's horse, Camino, tested positive for capsaicin, a banned pain relieving medication derived from chili peppers. He was provisionally suspended and did not complete the individual jumping competition. His ban Monday was backdated and runs through Jan. 2, 2009.
Hansen's use of capsaicin was documented last summer. The drug, a product of the chili pepper, may anesthetize a horse's senses, allowing the beast an advantage in competition...or so goes the party line. Back to the FEI's statement:
"It is each person responsible's personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance is present in his or her horse's body during an event," the federation said.
Hansen faced two daylong hearings, in September and November, at an FEI tribunal before the governing body reached its verdict.
He can appeal the ruling within 30 days to the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
It is the sixth and final drug test case from the Olympic equestrian events to be decided.
Hansen is the fourth rider disqualified and suspended in cases involving capsaicin: Germany's Christian Ahlmann was suspended for four months, Brazil's Bernardo Alves for 3 1/2 months, and Irish rider Denis Lynch got a three-month ban.
Ahlmann's ban expired last Thursday but the German equestrian federation has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to extend it to at least eight months.
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, the individual jumping gold medallist in 2004, was disqualified and banned for 4 1/2 months after his horse tested positive for nonivamide, a banned pain-relieving medication.
American Courtney King was disqualified and banned for one-month because her horse Mythilus tested positive for felbinac, a banned anti-inflammatory medication.
Horse doping...appears that the FEI runs a tough show in the doping arena.