The Albanian weightlifter kicked out of the London Olympics on July 27 after he tested positive for steroid use told officials he had taken vitamins and dietary supplements and was unaware they contained stanozolol, a steroid on the list of prohibited substances.
At his July 26 hearing before the IOC's Disciplinary Commission, weightlifter Hysen Pulaku, 19, explained that one of his coaches had given him products he believed to be supplements, including vitamins B12, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and the amino acid l-carnitine, according to the Commission's decision.
Pulaku told the Disciplinary Commission that he did not take any other products and that he had listed the vitamins and supplements on the doping-control form at the time he provided a urine sample, on July 23. His personal coach told the Commission that neither he nor Pulaku understood how the banned substance ended up in the athlete's system. He said he was convinced that the Pulaku had not taken it knowingly. Pulaku offered to turn over the products to the IOC.
Bottom line: Pulaku's case is complicated, but one thing is certain: It's hard for you to know for sure what is in some products marketed as dietary supplements. Read our new report, "10 Surprising Dangers of Vitamins and Supplements," for more details.