Cartoon Tortoise Fails Doping Test

 istockphoto.com

istockphoto.com

A cartoon tortoise best known for beating a hare in a fabled foot race has failed a doping test, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency.

A blood sample from the tortoise came back positive for stanozolol, a steroid, during out-of-competition testing late last month, WADA said in a statement. It also contained traces of probenecid, a masking agent.

"In the traditional telling of the tale, the tortoise wins his race because of his opponent's hubris," the WADA statement read. "Now we know he had some additional help—of the pharmaceutical variety."

Even our most cherished childhood stories aren’t immune from the scourge of doping.
— WADA statement

"It is a sad testament to the state of the sport that even our most cherished childhood stories aren't immune from the scourge of doping," it added.

The tortoise, who denies any wrongdoing, is vowing to fight the charges.

"I will contest these findings and look forward to clearing my name," the tortoise said through his attorney, William Burrows, who went on to suggest the positive test was the result of a cream administered by an unnamed trainer.

The tortoise has deals with several big-name sponsors. It is unclear whether those deals are now in jeopardy. 

"We find this report very disturbing, and are watching closely to see what happens next," said a spokeswoman for Turtle Wax, which pays the tortoise a reported $450,000 per year to endorse its products.

Representatives for Nike, Oakley, and Hammer Nutrition did not return calls for comment.

Approached by reporters after a workout and asked about the allegations, the tortoise used an obscenity and pushed away an onlooker's camera before walking extremely slowly to a waiting SUV and being hoisted inside.