Retired Australian swimmer Brenton Rickard says he feels vindicated after the International Olympic Committee dropped its doping case against him.
Rickard and his lawyers faced the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last November after retrospective testing showed the banned diuretic furosemide in his sample from the 2012 London Olympics.
Now aged 37, Rickard swam a breaststroke leg in a heat of the 4x100m medley at the London Games, but was replaced for the final, in which Australia won bronze.
Rickard, James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger, Hayden Stoeckel, Matt Targett and Tommaso D’Orsogna were in danger of losing their bronze medals.
An Australian athlete has never been stripped of an Olympic medal because of a positive drugs test and two-time Olympian Rickard had maintained his innocence.
“The outcome today is the best I could have possibly hoped for,” Rickard said in a statement.
“Through these proceedings the IOC sought to challenge my honesty, integrity and values.
“I am filled with relief to be vindicated today.
“This case has taken a huge toll on me personally and professionally. I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, psychologist and lawyers for their love, support and guidance.
“I have always understood and supported the need for a robust anti-doping system but my case demonstrates that the case for continuous reform is compelling.”
Rickard’s legal team had previously flagged the furosemide in his sample was a known contaminant of an over-the-counter medication.
The IOC’s decision to withdraw the charges followed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) updating its minimum reporting levels for diuretics.
“(Rickard) has consistently maintained his innocence throughout this terrible ordeal,” Rickard’s lawyer Rebekah Giles said in a statement.
“The technical capabilities of the anti-doping authorities now surpass those of the pharmaceutical companies who screen for contaminants or independent laboratories who conduct batching tests.
“WADA’s rule change is pleasing but has come 16 months too late for Brenton, who has suffered greatly. The system operated unfairly against him and he was profoundly affected by these proceedings.
“His bravery was ultimately rewarded by the withdrawal of IOC’s case against him.”