Upset. Heartbroken. How could it happen? Career over.
Vernon Para-snowboarder Matt Hamilton, 38, a member of Para-Snowboard Canada’s NextGen team, was given a four-year ban from competition Monday, June 1, as the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport announced he violated an anti-doping rule.
Hamilton’s urine sample, collected during out-of-competition doping control on Jan. 29, 2020, revealed the presence of GW501516, also known as cardarine and endurobol, a prohibited hormone and metabolic modulator.
It is banned under S4.5 Metabolic Modulators on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. Substances in this category modify how the body metabolizes fat and GW1516 was originally synthesized and evaluated for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other disorders caused by metabolic problems.
Hamilton’s ban is in effect until April 2024. He believes the result comes from a contaminated supplement he was taking.
“Obviously I’m not stupid enough to take anything that would jeopardize me competing, however somehow I did fail,” said a dejected Hamilton. “All of my supplements were tested for sport but I went ahead and shipped them to a lab in California to see if I could find out where the tainted substance came from.
“After spending US$3,000 testing the supplements that have failed with athletes before (pre-workouts and protein powders) I had to give up especially considering what’s going on in the world right now and work.”
During the sanction period, Hamilton is ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport signatory to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, including training with teammates.
Hamilton said he changed his entire life to represent Canada on the Para-snowboard team. He quit his job, spent thousands in travel and equipment and now, he said, to have his career end like this, is heartbreaking.
“I have moved on but the media seems to be opening up the old wounds and I wish it would all go away,” he said. “Since I could not find where the substance came from, I am unable to appeal the decision and now I look like a cheater. Awesome.”
In the 2019-20 World Cup season, Hamilton had a pair of fifth-place results in snowboard cross at Kelowna’s Big White Mountain. He also placed 13th and 14th in a pair of World Cup banked slalom events in Landgraaf, in the Netherlands.
Hamilton was ranked 21st in the world in banked slalom and 29th overall for snowboardcross.
He was seriously injured in a workplace accident in Alberta in 2005 when a dump truck’s heavy box crushed Hamilton, a heavy-duty mechanic, in the lower body. A former snowboarder prior to his accident, his future wife convinced Hamilton to get back on a board as the couple went on their first date in Banff.
Hamilton moved to Vernon and spent every minute of his spare time at SilverStar Mountain Resort, a 12-minute drive from his house. He worked his way onto the national NextGen squad.
“This whole thing was supposed to put a positive spin on a bad thing (my injury),” said Hamilton. “It’s gone completely the other direction.”