Former Canadian Olympic star reveals 1994 doping violation

September 8, 2015

OTTAWA (AP) Canadian Olympic star Clara Hughes has disclosed a doping violation from more than 20 years ago.

The former cyclist and speedskater writes in her newly released memoir that she tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine in 1994. She adds that she was notified of the test result by Cycling Canada's then national team director. Hughes says in the book the violation was intentionally kept quiet.

The offense occurred before the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency or the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Canada's national anti-doping body.

''Cycling Canada cannot condone how this matter was handled at the time by any of those involved,'' the organization said in a statement. ''Regardless of the practices of the day, Cycling Canada believes in full, fair and open disclosure of all doping related offenses.''

Hughes is tied with Cindy Klassen for most Olympic medals won by a Canadian, having competed in both the Winter and Summer Games.

She informed Cycling Canada in late August about the test result and gave the governing body a copy of the manuscript excerpt. Hughes also spoke about the doping in an interview with the CBC on Sunday night.

Ephedrine promotes short-term weight loss, specifically by burning fat, and is used to improve performance before a competition. It also is found in cold medication and can help fight lung infections. It may be used as a stimulant, concentration aid, decongestant and appetite suppressant.

Hughes won two bronze medals in road cycling at the 1996 Atlanta Games. She also won gold in the 5,000 meters in long-track speedskating at the 2006 Turin Olympics, adding a silver in team pursuit that same year. Hughes won bronze in the 5,000 at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. She was Canada's flag bearer for the opening ceremony in Vancouver.

Since retiring from competition Hughes has become an advocate for mental health, drawing on her experience with depression.