Martina Dominici with coach Agustina Mignone
After testing positive for an undisclosed banned substance during an anti-doping control following Pan American Championships in Brazil, the Argentinian gymnast Martina Dominici will miss out on the 2020 Olympic Games.
Dominici, 19, qualified to the Games by finishing 31st in the all-around at world championships In 2019. She most recently won five medals at Pan Ams, her final test before traveling to Tokyo. In addition to winning silver in the all-around and three individual apparatus medals, Dominici also led the young team from Argentina to bronze, and she left Brazil feeling ready and motivated for her competition at the Olympics.
When the test came back positive for a banned substance, Dominici attempted to appeal, but she was unsuccessful, and received a suspension that will keep her out of the Games. Instead, just days before travel time, she was replaced by her teammate Abigail Magistrati, who finished 36th at worlds just four tenths behind Dominici, but missed out on qualifying due to the one-per-country restrictions.
17-year-old Magistrati was the South American all-around champion in 2019, her first year as a senior. Most recently, she finished 10th all-around at Pan Ams, the second-best for Argentina behind Dominici, and she also made the beam and floor finals.
Since the final decision came out a couple of days ago, both Dominici and her coach, Agustina Mignone, have discussed the situation on Instagram, with Dominici calling the situation the most difficult she has faced as an athlete as her dreams disappeared. She also said that she never voluntarily ingested any substance that could give her an advantage in gymnastics, and added that throughout her career as an athlete, she has always been true to her ideals of clean sport.
Mignone said that she feels like she has been “living a horror movie, or worse” since finding out about the positive test. She backed Dominici’s statement about competing clean, and said that she hopes the truth will someday come to light.
I am heartbroken for Dominici, who I first saw compete at Gymnix in 2017 and just knew that she was going to be a star for Argentina. I doubt she would risk everything she’s worked for throughout her eight-year elite career just weeks before the Olympic Games, but even if she is eventually vindicated through a further investigation, nothing can make up for her missing out on this opportunity she earned, and I’m devastated to see her in this position.
At the same time, Magistrati is also an incredibly talented gymnast, and I’m glad Argentina had a second athlete in line to take over Dominici’s spot so the federation didn’t have to miss out on the Olympics entirely. It must be bittersweet for her, having her dream come true unexpectedly at the expense of her friend and teammate, but I hope she is able to enjoy the experience and compete well for herself and her country.
The Taiwan men’s team also saw a roster change this week, with Yu Chao-Wei forced to withdraw after suffering an ACL tear during training. Hung Yuan-Hsi replaced him on the team.
Article by Lauren Hopkins