American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo, a graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, has been expelled from the London Olympics after testing positive for cannabis, saying he unintentionally ate something before the games that had been baked with marijuana.
Delpopolo, a member of the Jason Morris Judo Center in Glenville, placed seventh on July 30 in the 73kg division at the London Olympics.
The 23-year-old judoka said his positive test was “caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana” before he left for the Olympics.
“I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be.”
U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement that his group 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.”
Delpopolo is the first of the 10,500 London Games athletes to fail an in-competition doping test. His case is the fifth positive test for a banned substance reported by the IOC since the Olympic body started its London testing program in mid-July. The other four were caught before competing.
Delpopolo "shall have his Olympic identity and accreditation card canceled and withdrawn immediately," the IOC said.
The IOC said it would ask the International Judo Federation to alter the standings in Delpopolo's event.
Delpopolo faces further sanctions as the IOC requested that judo's governing body "consider any further action within its own competence."
The 23-year-old Delpopolo comments on his official games biography that he found training for London to be intense and he would like to return to study.
"I would also like to try and get a job wherever; it wouldn't matter to me," he is quoted as saying on the official website. "These two things would be a good change of pace from the 'always train' life I live now.
"Don't get me wrong, I would still practice, train and compete judo but not as intense or as much as I am now. But in 2014 I would start preparing for the 2016 Games again."
Delpopolo was born Petra Perovic in the republic of Montenegro in the former Yugoslavia, the biography said.
He was adopted by an American family who named him Nick and he grew up in New Jersey.
The International Olympic Committee says it has disqualified Delpopolo from that event.
The IOC says Delpopolo tested positive for metabolites of cannabis on July 30.
Delpopolo, 23, is one of two representatives of the Morris center to compete in the Olympics. The other is fellow BH-BL grad Kyle Vashkulat, who competes at 100 kg.
Born in an orphanage in Montenegro, Delpopolo was adopted by a family in New Jersey before his second birthday. He gravitated to martial arts, and first moved to this area at 12 to train with Morris. He moved back to New Jersey, winning national junior tournaments, and came back to JMJC in his bid to make this Olympic team.
Vashkulat, who was born in the Ukraine, came to the Capital Region from Pennsylvania to train with Morris as a teenager.
More on Delpopolo
Recent stories on Delpopolo:
• Delpopolo finishes seventh in Olympic debut, Click HERE.
• Delpopolo falls short in bronze medal bid. Click HERE.
• Olympic diary: Delpopolo has a first-round bye in judo competition. Click HERE.
• Difficult path may benefit Olympic judo hopefuls Vashkulat, Delpopolo. Click HERE.
• Delpopolo earns berth in Olympics. Click HERE.
Delpopolo earned a spot on the Olympic judo team on May 12 in the Olympic trials in Miami.
His seventh-place finish in the Olympics on July 30 came on the 20th anniversary of Morris winning a silver medal on July 30, 1992, at the Barcelona Olympics.