LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND -- An anti-doping panel has cleared top Canadian canoeist Laurence Vincent Lapointe to return to training and competition ahead of her sport's Olympic debut this summer.

The panel convened by the International Canoe Federation made the decision after it accepted that the 11-time world champion did not knowingly take ligandrol.

The federation also accepted evidence which supported that she was the victim of third-party contamination.

Lawyer Adam Klevinas said at a news conference on Monday that a hair sample of Vincent Lapointe's ex led to the evidence.

"It took months to get results, and then at the end, we got the idea to analyze the hair of her ex and to test a product he finally admitted to taking, and in the weeks before the hearing (in December) we found the source. It's pretty incredible," he said at a news conference Monday in Trois-Rivieres, Que.

Vincent Lapointe said she is now ready to gear up for Tokyo.

"You can't even imagine how relieved I am," she said. "It feels good to put an end to this journey and just be able to concentrate on what I love, and get back on the water to prepare for the (Olympic) Games.

"It's amazing. I'm ready. I'm aiming for the games."

Klevinas said the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport have the right to appeal the decision. They have 15 days to request the full decision.

Vincent Lapointe, 27, was provisionally suspended for having trace amounts of the drug in an out-of-competition doping test conducted July 29.

Ligandrol, used to treat conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis, is on WADA's list of banned substances because it has an anabolic steroids effect.

She was subsequently suspended and was not able to compete at the 2019 ICF canoe sprint world championships, which doubled as a Tokyo 2020 Olympic selection event.

Vincent Lapointe and her lawyer, Klevinas, attended a hearing before the ICF's doping control panel in Lausanne, Switzerland, to present their case in December.

Women's sprint canoe will be in the Olympics for the first time this summer in Tokyo.

Gracenote, an international data analytics company, has predicted Vincent Lapointe will win two Olympic gold medals this year.

Vincent Lapointe still has to qualify for the Games.

The C1 200-metre qualification is April 16-19 in Lake Lanier, Ga. She can earn a nomination to the Olympic team with two wins.

In the C2 500 metres, Canada needs to qualify a boat by winning an event May 7-10 in Curitiba, Brazil.

If Canada wins, Canoe Kayak Canada will make a decision on athletes for that event later that month.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.