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Erik Kynard Jr., Olympic high jump champion, sanctioned while retired

Erik Kynard

EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 27: Erik Kynard competes in the Men’s High Jump final during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

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Erik Kynard Jr., the 2012 Olympic high jump champion, was banned six months for receiving an IV infusion of an illegal amount of a legal substance but was already retired from the sport.

“Although I accept this sanction for my conduct, I am not an active athlete,” Kynard wrote in an email after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced the sanction. “This was a clerical error on my behalf during my transition into retirement. I have no plans to return to competition after the period of ineligibility. I am and have always been an advocate for clean sport.”

Kynard, 31, said he considers the 2021 Olympic Trials, where he finished fourth, his final competition.

USADA said that, in response to a tip, it investigated an image on Kynard’s social media from January of him receiving an infusion. The IV was of saline solution with no prohibited substances, but it was greater than the legal limit of 100 milliliters in a 12-hour span without a therapeutic use exemption.

Kynard’s ban began last Friday, but it is meaningless with his retirement.

The news is reminiscent of 2004 Olympic 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford, who was banned in 2013 for failing to update his information for drug-testing purposes but was already retired.

It is also reminiscent of swimmer Ryan Lochte, who in 2018 was banned 14 months after he posted an image of himself receiving an infusion of an illegal amount of a legal substance.

In November, Kynard was upgraded to a 2012 Olympic high jump gold medal after original gold medalist Ivan Ukhov of Russia was previously stripped for doping.

Kynard had said last April, when his golden upgrade became a formality, that it was “of no consequence to him” after years of waiting and the process “taking forever.”

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