Norwegian Show Jumping Team to Lose Medals

The panel of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Tribunal has rendered its final decision in the prohibited substance case involving the horse Camiro ridden by Tony Andre Hansen of Norway at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Hansen has been suspended for a period of four and a half months (135 days), which is considered to have begun on the date of the application of the provisional suspension, Aug. 21, and which shall run up to Jan. 2, 2009. He was fined CHF 3,000 ($2,718 USD)and shall also contribute CHF 8,000 ($7,250 USD) towards the costs of the legal procedure.

The justifications for the sanctions are the principles which are at the core of the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rules, according to which:

"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. Persons responsible are responsible for any prohibited substance found to be present in their horse's bodily samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence, or knowing use on the person responsible's part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule or medication control violation."

In reaching its conclusion the tribunal concluded the substance at issue--capsaicin--was a "Medication Class A" rather than a "Doping" substance, based on its interpretation of the list of prohibited substances.

In considering the sanctions to be given to the rider in this case, the tribunal took into account the following:

  • the fact that Hansen is an experienced sportsman and that the behavior of anyone at the top of the sport, and particularly at the Olympic Games, must be faultless since the eyes of the world focus on performances at such events;
  • the nature of the substance involved which is not only a potent pain relieving substance, but also an agent that can be used for hypersensitization purposes;
  • the fact that the source of the presence of the substance has not been established by the rider;
  •  the fact that the actions taken by the rider to control all possibilities of contamination and actions taken following the positive finding to reveal its source were not at the same level as established by other riders at the same or similar events; and
  • in regard to costs, the fact that Hansen contributed to the prolongation of this case and, in particular, efforts to refuse acceptance of evidence argued by his team during the second hearing to be of vital importance.

On the other hand and in mitigation, the tribunal also considered:

  •  the impeccable record and reputation of the rider;
  • the hardship already caused to him, including the loss of an Olympic medal; and
  •  the fact that the substance has not been previously detected in the context of FEI events and is often used by riders also for legitimate therapeutic reasons.

Consequences to the Norwegian Jumping Team

The horse Camiro and the rider Tony Andre Hansen are disqualified from the entire Olympic Games and all medals, points, and prize money are forfeited. The combination's results obtained in both the individual and the team jumping competitions are annulled. As a consequence of this disqualification, the result of the Norwegian Jumping Team shall be recalculated, not taking into account the results achieved by Tony Andre Hansen and Camiro.

The Norwegian team had been awarded the bronze medal in team show jumping. Without Hansen's score, they drop out of medals. The team for Switzerland, which had placed fourth during the games, will now be awarded bronze medals.

Tony Andre Hansen has 30 days to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

View the full text of the decision.

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