Olympian Makes US Team Following Arbitration
Bobby Lea, an Olympic cycling veteran, was recently added to the US team and is expected to participate in the summer games in Rio in 2016. His addition followed a successful appeal regarding a doping suspension.
Lea was suspended 16 months after a drug test during 2015’s track national championships. It was revealed there was metabolite of oxycodone in his sample. Lea acknowledged using a prescription painkiller, but did not realize it contained a substance that was banned in competition. He appealed his suspension to the highest court and got the suspension reduced to six months.
That was not enough to ensure he would make it to Rio, though. The USA Cycling selection criteria requires riders be in good standing concerning anti-doping policies. The US Olympic Committee requires the same, and Lea was still serving his suspension at the time the team was announced in January 2016.
In response, Lea appealed the language used in the selection criteria. An arbitration panel ruled in favor of him and determined riders must only be in good standing by the time of final team selection.
Following the ruling, USA Cycling’s selection committee met and adhered to the panel’s ruling. Lea was added to the team and the person chosen due to his absence replaced.
Lea issued a statement following the ruling and addition to the team, acknowledging he made a mistake and taking accountability even though he did not take the time to research the drug he was taking to determine if it contained any banned ingredients. He apologized to his family, friends, coaches, fans, and sponsors, and stated he would do his best to restore faith.