The World Bridge Federation (WBF) has suspended Geir Helgemo, the world’s number 1 ranked bridge player, for failing a drug test. Helgemo tested positive for both synthetic testosterone and the female fertility drug clomifene at a recent World Bridge Series event in Orlando, Florida. (Is he non-binary?).
Kari-Anne Opsal, president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, was understandably shaken by the news. She issued the following statement on the federation’s website: “Geir Helgemo…has previously played for the Norwegian national team and is our biggest star. Many within the bridge community know Geir and respect him.” Well, they used to respect him. She said that, “It is his responsibility not to take substances that are on the doping list,” adding, “I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger…when his ban ends.”
Helgemo admitted he had broken the anti-doping rules and has been suspended until November 20th, 2019. Worse yet, the WBF revoked all titles, medals and points he had earned during the 2018 World Bridge Series campaign. (The WBF is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and follows World Anti-Doping Agency rules and guidelines).
This is just the latest in a long line of doping incidents, sex scandals and gruesome injuries to plague the grueling World Bridge Series Circuit, leading some to call for the abolishment of the WBF, if not the game itself.
Moreover, as this comes on the heels of the recent spate of doping scandals that have rocked both the World Tiddly-Winks Organization (WTWO) and the National Yahtzee League (NYL), the World Card and Board Game Congress (WCBGC) has promised to generally revisit all rules, regulations and standards pertaining to leisure-time games for pros and amateurs alike. A source close to WCBGC officials says he expects, at minimum, “a further tightening of rules across the board, if not a massive global crackdown on any behavior putting the WCBGC —or the games it sponsors and monitors—in a bad light.” He added, “I’ll lay my cards on the table right now…it’s not going to be pretty.”