Norway’s equestrian team may be stripped of gold

equestrianDoping tests on Camiro, the horse ridden by Norwegian Tony Andre Hansen in the Olympics team jumping event, have come back positive. Both the horse and rider have been suspended from further Olympic events and face losing the bronze medal if a second doping test proves positive.

Hansen, who is one of the world’s best equestrians, was barred from competing in the individual jumping competition, an event in which he had an excellent chance of taking home gold. Norway’s entire equestrian team is shell-shocked, unable to explain how an illegal substance got into their horse Camiro.

International Equestrian Federation (IEF) officials issued a preliminary report stating a banned salve that reduces pain, capsaicin, had been found on Camiro’s legs. Speaking to Aftenposten, Hansen said he could not understand why the salve would have been on Camiro’s legs because the horse was in excellent form at the time of the event. “I feel really down right now,” Hansen admitted. “This is a huge shock for me. I don’t have any explanation for how this could have happened, and I need time to figure it out.”

Although Olympic officials have yet to confirm that Norway will be stripped of its bronze medal in the team event, it seems likely. Three other horses from Ireland, Brazil, and Germany also tested positive in the A-test for capsaicin and were summarily suspended. Norwegian sports officials pride themselves on being leaders in the campaign against doping, so this news comes as a painful blow to their reputation.