FINA, international swimming's governing body, suspended Madisyn Cox for two years in March 2018 after she tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned stimulant that is used as a heart medication internationally but has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Cox, a Lubbock native and Austin resident, fought her suspension, eventually getting it reduced to six months after a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory found that both sealed and unsealed bottles of multivitamins Cox bought from Dallas' Cooper Clinic contained the stimulant. While she's been allowed to return to competition, Cox missed the 2018 U.S. National Championships, leading to her failure to qualify for the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in July.
According to her lawyers, Cox was also "forced to miss several major events and to return fees, grants and prizes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and was unable to pursue lucrative corporate sponsorships."
"At what might have been the height of her career, Madisyn paid a heavy price because she trusted a company she shouldn't have," Cox's attorney, Mark Lanier, said in a statement Tuesday. "The shock, pain and emotional trauma she has bravely faced are almost incalculable, and we will be doing everything possible to gain justice for Madisyn and her family. We also hope to force this company and this industry to do a better job in assuring the purity of their products and the proper labeling of each product's ingredients."
"At what might have been the height of her career, Madisyn paid a heavy price because she trusted a company she shouldn't have." — Mark Lanier
At the 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary, Cox won two medals: an individual bronze in the 200-meter individual medley and a team gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Cooper Concepts Inc., the business operations arm of the health and wellness empire built by aerobics pioneer Kenneth Cooper, said Tuesday that it hadn't yet been served with a lawsuit but had already taken action following Cox's suspension from swimming.
"When we learned about this issue, we were stunned and angered and removed that vitamin immediately from our product line," Cooper Concepts said in a statement to the Observer. "We are saddened and disappointed for Madisyn Cox and the time she missed in competition. We carefully formulated the ingredients to be included in our products and we relied on our manufacturer to produce products accordingly. That particular manufacturer no longer produces any vitamins for us."