British distance runner Kate Reed’s room was searched for drugs at the Beijing Olympics before the 10,000m race after she joked about using morphine to clear up an injury.
No illegal substances were found, however, and she passed a doping test.
“You would have to be rather stupid to [think] I wasn’t joking,” Reed was quoted as saying in the Bristol Evening Post.
Reed had previously complained about being forced to undergo a 2km time trial to prove her fitness the evening before the Olympic event in which she finished 23rd. UK Athletics said it had struggled to treat Reed’s leg injury because the descriptions of her symptoms “varied from day to day.”
“She was unable to run properly unless barefoot on grass and was unable to hop on one leg, such was the severity of her injury,” UK Athletics said in a statement. “Just two days before the 10,000m final she intimated to at least two members of the medical staff that she might take morphine to kill the pain.”
Reed said she was made to feel like a pariah.
“I was accused of attempting to cover up the injury and was subjected to what I feel was not only humiliating, but because of its timing so close to the biggest race of my life, totally demoralizing,” Reed said. “I just broke down and could not stop crying.”
“Both members of the medical team independently interpreted her comments to mean that she had morphine in her possession,” UK Athletics said. “Also, it should be noted that despite being asked on several occasions throughout the trip to declare her full range of medications, as is the norm, the athlete had failed to do so.”