Geir Helgemo was kicked out of the sport for an entire year after drug tests revealed that he used testosterone and clomiphene.
Geir Helgemo, a 49-year old professional bridge player who is the number-one ranked competitor among Open World Grand Masters, has been suspended for one year after he tested positive for two prohibited performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
The drugs in question were the anabolic steroid ‘testosterone’ and the selective estrogen receptor modulator ‘clomiphene’. The banned substances were discovered in a urine sample collected from Helgemo at the 15th World Bridge Series at the Orlando World Center Marriott in September 2018.
The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As such, WBF competitors are subject to anti-doping controls in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC).
Testosterone and Clomid are not performance-enhancing in bridge.
Helgemo was apparently on doctor-prescribed testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). There is no evidence that therapeutic dosages of the two drugs used by Helgemo provided any benefit to a bridge player.
Kari-Anne Opsal, the President of the Norwegian Bridge Federation (NBF), defended Helgemo.
“It is his responsibility not to take substances that are on the doping list, even though in this instance they are not performance enhancing in bridge,” Opsal said in a statement. “I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger after his ban ends.”
The suspension does not really inconvenience Helgemo at the moment. He is currently in prison serving a six-month sentence for aggravated tax fraud.
Helgemo was originally sentenced to 14 months in prison for failing to declare 7.5 million Norwegian Krone ($878,000 USD) to Norwegian tax authorities. Helgemo’s sentence was reduced to 6 months upon appeal.
Helgemo moved to Monaco in 2008 after he was signed to a lucrative professional bridge contract by Swiss real estate developer Pierre Zimmermann. The contract included the use of a luxury condominium and Monacoian citizenship.
Helgemo believed that he was exempt from paying income tax in Norway since he lived and worked in Monaco. He was wrong.
Helgemo and his team were stripped of the Rosenblum Cup awarded at the 2018 World Bridge Series. Helgemo was a member of the ZIMMERMANN team of Piotr Gawrys (Poland), Tor Helness (Monaco), Michal Klukowski (Poland), Franck Multon (Monaco) and Pierre Zimmermann (Monaco).
Helgemo will be eligible to return to competition on November 20, 2019.
Jacobs, J. (March 2, 2019). Top Bridge Player Suspended Under Antidoping Rules. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/sports/bridge-player-suspended-doping.html