Vitalijs Pavlovs, who plays number 79 on Latvia’s men’s national ice hockey team, has been excluded from the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi for failing a drug test. Pavlovs has also been excluded from the Men’s Quarterfinals Play-offs, Wednesday’s amazing match between Canada and Latvia. Pavlovs’ Olympic accreditation and identity card are to be cancelled immediately, and the 8th place diploma that he received must be returned by the Latvian Olympic Committee to the International Olympic Committee as soon as possible. The IOC says that after the quarterfinals between Latvia and Canada, Vitalijs Pavlovs tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine.
How is the IOC checking for anti-doping violations at the XXII Winter Olympics? Tests are administered to the top five finishers along with two random teams after each event. There are also unannounced, out-of-competition drug tests. The total number of estimated tests for the Sochi Games is estimated to be 2,455. Approximately 509 of them will be blood tests and 1,944 of them urine.
What list does the IOC use to determine whether or not a substance is banned? The list is compiled by The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the title of the document is called The World Anti-Doping Code 2014 Prohibited List, International Standard. It went into effect January 1 of this year. This document lists methylhexaneamine under section six stimulants. Section six stimulants fall under the Substances section of the Substances and Methods Prohibited In-Competition. Out-of-competition use of methylhexaneamine, therefore, does not violate any anti-doping rule. Many substances, however, can stay in the body for a long time, and this can lead to an athlete who uses the substance in question to be charged with violating an anti-doping rule.
The drug Vitalijs Pavlovs was found positive for, methylhexaneamine, has many variants and names. It was used as early as 1944 as a nasal decongestant but was voluntarily withdrawn by the company that invented it, Eli Lilly and Company, in 1983. When it was discovered to have fat-burning potential, it became added to many energy-boosting dietary supplements. It’s current life as a dietary supplement began in 2006. Though it is sold online and in stores, there have been at least five deaths tenuously associated with supplements that contain methylhexaneamine. It is chemically related to amphetamines, but its effects are nowhere near as strong. They are not long-lasting and are comparable to a cup or two of coffee.
Unfortunately for athletes such as Vitalijs Pavlovs who are tested for illegal substances, the companies that sell methylhexaneamine as a supplement might, for a variety of reasons, leave it or other ingredients off the ingredient list. Alternatively, stimulants can be added to a supplement through cross-contamination occurring during the manufacturing process. Supplements known to contain methylhexaneamine include USPLabs’ Jack3d and OxyELITE pro, Nutrex Hemo Rage Black Ultra Concentrate, and LG Science’s Rezolution.
Retrospective analysis of Latvia’s stunning quarterfinals performance may be negatively affected by the IOC’s subsequent disqualification of the team’s 24-year-old forward Vitalijs Pavlovs due to his testing positive for methylhexaneamine.
By Donna Westlund