N. Koreans Fail Steroids Test, Blame Lightning (Again)

Team says players took natural medicine after big zap
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2011 11:27 AM CDT
5 North Korean Female Soccer Players Test Positive for Steroids
The North Korean team.   (AP Photo / Kerstin Joensson)

Boy, that was some lightning strike. When North Korea's women's soccer team lost to USA, it blamed the lingering effects of a lightning strike from earlier in the month. Now that five of its players have tested positive for steroids at the World Cup, the team is pulling out the lightning strike excuse again, reports AP: It says players recovering from the zap took traditional Chinese medicine—specifically the extract of a gland from a musk deer—that might be confused with steroids.

"This is a shock," said FIFA's president. "We are confronted with a very, very bad case of doping and it hurts." The agency's scientists are looking into the musk deer explanation—it wouldn't be the first time a naturally occurring substance has raised doping concerns in sports—and a disciplinary committee will take up the case. Meanwhile, team USA plays for the World Cup championship against Japan at 2:45 ET tomorrow. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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