The history of sports is the history of gamesmanship, cheating and even sabotage. Athletes cut corners, use drugs, take cheap shots at opponents. And yet rarely have we seen anyone go to the lengths Japanese kayaker Yasuhiro Suzuki went to in an effort to discredit rival Seiji Komatsu.
According to ESPN, Suzuki spiked Komatsu’s drink with anabolic steroids, causing Komatsu to fail a drug test at last year’s world championships, where both athletes hoped to secure a spot in the 2020 Olympics. Komatsu did in fact fail, earning a suspension, but he insisted to the Japan Canoe Federation he had never taking performance-enhancing drugs. Suzuki then apparently confessed his crime, reportedly telling officials he did not think he could win at world championships.
As a result of his attempts at sabotage, Suzuki has been banned from competition for eight years. Komatsu, meanwhile, had his suspension lifted and records restored.
As far as cheating goes, this is some next-level shit. It’s like the 21st-century version of Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and bodyguard attacking Nancy Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics. Only sneakier and more devious.
It’s not entirely clear how Japanese officials discovered Suzuki’s ploy, but it seems that, barring some sort of video evidence, his confession is the only way they could have nailed him. It’s not difficult to imagine an alternate universe in which Suzuki gets away and Komatsu becomes disgraced, yelling about his innocence as everyone around him rolls their eyes.
And just like that, a thousand baseball players have an alibi for when they’re busted over PED use.