Six years after testing positive for EPO, the former marathon champion finally admits his guilt.
In 2004 at the age of 43, Eddy Hellebuyck, a former Olympic marathoner who represented Belgium at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, was enjoying a late-career surge in performance. A year prior, he won the Twin Cities Marathon outright in a U.S. masters record of 2:12:46, not far off his lifetime personal best of 2:11:50.
After testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO)–a performance-enhancing substance that increased endurance–while preparing for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (where he finished 8th in 2:15:36), Hellebuyck denied he had ever doped. He fought the case all the way to an arbitration court in Switzerland, but was ultimately suspended for two years.
“”Yeah,” he now says, “I did it.”
In a sport that has been tainted over the years by the presence of performance-enhancing drugs, Hellebuyck’s admission is unique in that he is the only Olympic-level American marathoner ever to have been found guilty of doping.
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