Gold-medal sprinter Gil Roberts nearly kissed away his career. But an arbitrator cleared the champ of charges he ingested a banned substance, conceding the drug got into his system exactly as Roberts says it did—through smooching with his girlfriend, reports Sports Illustrated. Roberts, 28, who won the 4x400-meter relay with Team USA at the 2016 Rio Games, was suspended in May after testing positive for probenecid. The runner says the drug got into his system through his girlfriend, who was treating a sinus infection and whom he "frequently and passionately" kissed. Roberts' paramour bought the drug during a trip to India and was still taking it when she returned to the US. "He had no idea that kissing his girlfriend could lead to his ingesting a prohibited substance," the independent arbitrator writes in a June 20 report released Friday, per the BBC.
"When he kissed her he did not remember the taste of medicine in her mouth," he adds. The decision was expedited so Roberts could compete in the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in order to qualify for world championships in London next month. The arbitrator says the failed drug test for Roberts "must have been like lightning out of a clear blue sky for him to learn by kissing his girlfriend this time that he was exposing himself to a prohibited substance," adding that the runner "has met his burden of proof." The case echoes that of pole vault champ Shawn Barber, who tested positive for cocaine after visiting a female escort, USA Today notes. (After a doping finding, an Olympic wrestler turned down a silver medal.)