Pro skateboarder Cory Scott Juneau today officially accepted sanctions after testing positive for cannabis. Although his period of suspension is technically complete, thanks to a reduction in suspension length, Juneau is reportedly the first American skateboarder to receive a suspension for having THC in his system.
Earlier today, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published a press release announcing that 19 year old Juneau had formally accepted a ruling from the agency that carried a six-month suspension.
In some ways, the story is a bit confusing as most of the situation played out last year. But according to USADA, the whole thing started on January 28, 2018 at the Oi Park Jam skateboard competition in Brazil.
At the event, Juneau reportedly had to take a urine drug test, which came back positive for THC. Under USADA rules, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List, THC is a banned substance. And testing positive for it can land athletes in hot water.
Initially, Juneau failed a drug test administered by the Brazilian Anti-Doping Agency. But that agency quickly handed the case over to USADA.
From there, the U.S.-based agency reviewed the case and made its decision in October 2018. USADA ultimately ruled that Juneau was in violation of national and international anti-doping rules. As a result, the agency gave him a six-month suspension.
Fortunately for Juneau, USADA backdated the start of the suspension to the time of his failed drug test in January 2018. Even better for the skateboarder, the agency also decided to reduce his period of ineligibility to only three months.
According to USADA’s statement, the agency made the decision to reduce the ineligibility period because Juneau completed an anti-doping educational program.
As a result of the reduction, Juneau’s suspension technically came to a close on April 28, 2018. In addition to the period of ineligibility, any awards, medals, points, or prizes the skateboarder won in the wake of the failed drug test are nullified.
With today’s formal acceptance of USADA’s ruling, Juneau reportedly becomes the first skateboarder in the United States to receive a suspension for failing a THC drug test.
Further, his suspension marks a new change in the sport of skateboarding. Historically, pro skateboarders have not had to deal with drug testing protocols in order to compete.
But all that has changed. In large part, the changes come as a result of skateboarding becoming an official Olympic sport. The first time skateboarding will be at the Olympics is at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games.
In any case, all Olympic athletes are required to follow international anti-doping rules. And those rules currently prohibit THC.
But drug tests aren’t only administered as part of the Olympic games. They’re also used at a number of other international sporting events.
In many ways, Olympics rules function as the de facto rules for a much broader range of other international athletic competitions. And that is apparently true of skateboarding, as more and more international skate competitions are now administering drug tests and disciplining athletes according to Olympic standards.