Canada’s Vincent Lapointe reveals she tested positive for muscle-building substance

Canada’s Laurence Vincent Lapointe, an 11-time canoe world champion, revealed on Tuesday that she has tested positive for Ligandrol, which can help repair and build muscles.

The 27-year-old will not compete at this week’s canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary, after failing an out-of-competition doping test in late July and has been provisionally suspended, pending the outcome of her case that is expected to be heard over the next few months, according to her lawyer Adam Klevinas.

Vincent Lapointe, who flew home from Hungary on Monday night, told reporters at the Sheraton Hotel in Montreal that she isn’t going to abandon her dream of competing at next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, where women’s canoe sprint is set to make its Summer Games debut.

“I don’t want [this positive test] to be the end of me,” said the native of Trois-Rivières, Que.

Ligandrol, which is not available over the counter, is taken orally as a tablet and is on the prohibited list of the World Anti-Doping Agency. It works in a similar way to testosterone and anabolic steroids and can be detected for up to 21 days in the urine of those who take it. 

WATCH | Laurence Vincent Lapointe on dealing with a positive doping test:

Laurence Vincent Lapointe describes her emotions after hearing she was tested positive for Ligandrol, says she knows she can win without taking banned substances. 2:19

“I’ve been winning for almost 10 years now,” Vincent Lapointe said. “I know I can beat all of these women with my own strength.

“I have no idea how [Ligandrol] got [in my system]. We’re working to find it. I just cannot believe it. It’s been a nightmare.”

The first positive test was confirmed on Aug. 13 and a second sample was opened, tested in Montreal on Aug. 15 and the next day it confirmed the first positive result.

Vincent Lapointe has been provisionally suspended and will not compete at this week’s canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary. (Aaron Lynett/Canadian Press)

Klevinas said there is the possibility of cross-contamination in the case of Vincent Lapointe, meaning she could have made contact with the banned substance through sharing the utensil or water bottle of someone who had ingested Ligandrol.

“It doesn’t just appear in the body, so we have to find out where it came from,” Klevinas added. “We’re confident it’s not  because Laurence intentionally took it.”

WATCH | Vincent Lapointe’s lawyer on the process of trying to prove her innocence:

Laurence Vincent Lapointe’s lawyer, Adam Klevinas, is confident that she didn’t intentionally take Ligandrol. 1:37

Ligandrol has been the subject of recent established tainted supplement cases, according to Canoe Kayak Canada, which stated preliminary information supports that Vincent Lapointe’s positive test result may have been caused by inadvertent and unknowing use of a prohibited substance from such a source.

International Canoe Federation media and communications manager Ross Solly said “it is very much up to Canoe Kayak Canada to now decide how they will proceed” that will determine when a hearing would occur.

“Sentencing will depend on the severity of the case [and] any mitigating circumstances,” he noted. “Athletes from all sports have alleged in the past that they have taken contaminated substances. The onus is on the athlete to prove this, and then we can determine the correct and fair approach.”

Vincent Lapointe won her third gold medal of the season on June 1, capturing the women’s C1 200-metre event at a World Cup in Duisberg, Germany, for a second consecutive week following a victory in Poznan, Poland. She also teamed with Katie Vincent in Poland to win the C2 500-metre final.

Olympic dream began as 8-year-old

Vincent Lapointe has won six C1-200 world titles, four C2-500 gold medals, and one C1-5000 championship.

Her Olympic dream began as an eight-year-old watching synchronized swimming from the 2000 Sydney Summer Games on TV before she switched to canoe years later.

WATCH | Vincent Lapointe ‘amazed’ by her success:

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe reflects on her career and her big win in the the women’s C1 200-metre event at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Poznan, Poland. 1:44

In 2010, Vincent Lapointe served notice on the international scene by winning a pair of gold medals in the C-1 200 and C-2 500 at the world championships in Poland.

Five years later, she prevailed by more than two seconds to post a winning time at Pan Am Games, hosted by Toronto.

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