Nick Delpopolo Expelled From Olympics For Eating Brownies

Nick Delpopolo has been banned from the Olympics for testing positive for cannabis, which he claims came from unwittingly eating a marijuana-laced brownie.

Nick Delpopolo has been banned from the Olympics for testing positive for cannabis, which he claims came from unwittingly eating a marijuana-laced brownie.

Reuters (“U.S. judoka expelled from Games for eating marijuana“):

U.S. competitor Nick Delpopolo was expelled from the London Olympic Games on Monday after testing positive for marijuana and apologized to organizers, fans and fellow athletes for unwittingly eating a brownie that had been baked with the drug.

Delpopolo, 23, who finished seventh in the 73kg event, accepted his expulsion.

“My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana, before I left for the Olympic Games,” said Delpopolo, who trains in New York.

“I apologize to the U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake. I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will re-dedicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be,” he said in a statement.

The United States Olympic Committee told Reuters the food Delpopolo had eaten was a brownie containing marijuana.
The athlete waived the right for his case to be heard before the Disciplinary Commission, and the USOC said it fully supported the expulsion.

“The USOC is absolutely committed to clean competition and stringent anti-doping penalties. Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences and we absolutely support the disqualification. We look forward to witnessing the continued success of our athletes and commend their dedication to clean sport.”

My initial instinct was to wonder why, exactly, is marijuana a banned substance at the Olympics? Does cannabis yield a performance edge? Well, apparently, it depends:

At the moment, a substance appears on the banned list if it meets the following criteria: it is proven to be performance enhancing, it goes against the spirit of sport, or it is dangerous to the health of athletes.

Marijuana, or cannabis, qualifies as a forbidden drug under the current rules, with athletes facing a two-year ban if it is found in their system.

While it is generally accepted that cannabis is unlikely to give athletes a performance advantage in fast-paced sports, some experts say it could prove helpful in sports like shooting or golf where a steady hand is needed.

At any rate, rules are rules and Olympic athletes should certainly know that marijuana is a banned substance and be damned wary about the food they eat a few days before competition. At least he didn’t inhale.

Whether marijuana should be legal for the rest of us is a topic of much debate but a separate issue.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. mattb says:

    There are actually quite a few upper level Brazilian Jiujitsu/Grappling folks who advocate baking and rolling.

    That said, what works in BJJ doesn’t necessarily hold true for competition Judo (where a lot less time is typically spent on the ground).

  2. JKB says:

    See this is what happens when your grandma was a Woodstock hippie and you go to visit her before you head to the Olympics.

    I have no idea if that is how this happened but it is as plausible as stoner friends these days.

  3. crystal says:

    Ridiculous. And yet drinking alcohol remains fine.

    Please, USOC, show me ONE study where consuming cannabis causes more harm to the body than steroids, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or tobacco. Our policies surrounding cannabis must change, because sh:t like this is unacceptable. This gifted athlete was participating in a past time (whether willingly or not) that humans have been participating in for thousands of years. In all its existence on this planet cannabis has caused less harm than drinking alcohol does in a single day here on earth.

    The Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves for not being more educated on the matter in which this boy was expelled. How hard has he worked to get to where he is?!? And then to rip it away from him in such a way as to humiliate him and make him feel bad for doing something that is more common and far safer than even alcohol! I mean, really. Expulsion? You guys feel better?

    Michael Phelps smokes pot and yet he’s the most decorated champion in all of Olympic history. Nick, if you’re reading this, whether you meant to eat those delicious brownies or not, just know that in the eyes of The Sensible you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s wrong what happened to you.

    Toke up, buddy. See you in 2016.