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North Korea Blaming Lightning For Players' Positive Steroids Tests At Women's World Cup, Obviously

Five North Korean players at the 2011 Women's World Cup have tested positive for steroids, a development ever-competent FIFA President Sepp Blatter called "a shock."

But if the North Korean soccer federation is to be believed, it was a literal shock that indirectly caused the positive tests in the first place: they're blaming these tests on an unusual recuperation tactic after a lightning strike during training in June.

A letter the federation sent to FIFA blamed a lightning strike, according to Blatter, and North Korea clinging to that defense produces sentences like this:

FIFA has already met with a North Korean delegation and heard arguments that the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines based on musk deer glands to treat players who had been struck by lightning on June 8 during a training camp in North Korea.

Then there's FIFA chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak's bewildered reaction to the bizarre test results, which includes phrases like "it is not part of the world of doping" and "the first case in which this has been discovered." The simple answer to the question of why North Korean players tested positive for steroids from musk deer glands is probably that those players took steroids derived from musk deer glands, but, hey, I guess trying to explain that away with a still-unconfirmed lightning strike makes more sense to the North Korean federation.

Of course, as of late June, North Korea's coach was also blaming that same lightning for throwing off its players in its loss to the United States, so it seems like North Korea is keeping its completely outrageous and almost certainly false explanations of failure straight.

Either that, or North Korea's women's soccer team really did get hit by the unluckiest lightning strike of all time, and tried to recuperate with traditional medicine that, unbeknownst to everyone involved, incorporated steroids the doping world has never seen before. That wouldn't make the DPRK's 0-2-1 performance in the Women's World Cup any better, but I suppose it does make it slightly more honorable.