GOLD Coast triathlete Rebekah Keat’s $60,000 fight to officially clear her
name has begun.
The 29-year-old yesterday filed a lawsuit against Hammer Nutrition in
California, alleging her positive drug test in 2004 was caused by the
use of the company’s supplements which were contaminated with the steroid
It comes after the former junior triathlon and duathlon world champion
was suspended from her sport for two years after failing a drug test
following her win in the 2004 Ironman Western Australia.
Although she returned to competition last year and was crowned
Australian ironman triathlon champion, Keat said the legal action was part of the
vindication process and not about the money.
“The pain of being labelled a drug cheat and not being able to clear my
name was soul destroying and something I would not wish upon my worst enemy,”
said Keat, who is being represented by Californian-based law firm Howard
“All it’s about is me clearing my name.
“I wouldn’t care if I don’t get anything as long as I can name this
company and not have any other athlete going through what I went through.
“It’s cost me an arm and a leg. I still owe over $60,000 in legal bills
that I’m paying back so if I can get them paid at least, I’d be happy”
Despite an appeal hearing where the Court Arbitration for Sport accepted
Keat’s positive drug test was due to supplement contamination, she was
still determined to clear her name and pursue legal action.
Keat’s identical twin Simone assisted with the legal process to help her
sister prove her innocence and even postponed plans to return overseas
to commit herself to the cause.
After two years of global searching, a WADA laboratory agreed to test
the Endurolyte supplements Keat had been given by her sponsor for steroids
or steroid precursors.
The laboratory later reported that the testing had revealed they were in
fact contaminated with norandrostenedione in an amount that was
consistent with Keat’s positive drug test.
Keat revealed how emotionally drained she had been and said without her
sister’s help she would never have been able to attempt to clear her
“At the time I didn’t really think life was worth living,” said Keat.
“She (Simone) moved back to Australia and basically mothered me for the
first year when I was really struggling and trying to find an answer.
“She did all the research and got it all sorted for me and supported me
all the way through it.
“She’s always been my best friend. She’s stuck by me and told me to keep
plugging away and we’d get an answer.”
Simone said her sister was the first Australian athlete to obtain
evidence that their supplements had been contaminated. However, there have been
similar cases internationally.
Joining Keat in the lawsuit against Hammer Nutrition are US cyclist
Amber Neben and Canadian triathlete Mike Vine, who are all alleging the
company’s supplements had contained norandrostendedione.
Keat said she hoped she could now focus on her sport.
“Being innocent I never gave up. I knew I had to have faith that the
truth would one day unfold,” said Keat.
“Nothing can give me back my two years, but my self worth and soul are
“I just want to focus 100 per cent on what I love, triathlon, and strive
to achieve my dream of winning Hawaii Ironman.”