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Local equestrian's Olympic dream could be over after testing positive for cocaine
Nicole Walker's Olympic dream could be crushed after the Canadian showjumper from Aurora tested positive for cocaine, according to the International Equestrian Federation.
The 26-year-old daughter of billionaire businesswoman Belinda Stronach has found herself at the centre of a scandal, threatening the entire team's chance to compete on the world stage.
Walker took to Instagram writing, "I was shocked and devastated to hear about these results. I do not use illicit drugs ever.
Whether in Peru or in any competition setting for that matter, I am always fully aware of the possibility of being tested and would never expose myself to any substance that could test positive.
My Canadian teammates, my team in the barn, our horses and I, have all put a lifetime of effort towards an Olympic goal, and I would never do anything to jeopardize that for my teammates or for myself.
I'm extremely grateful to everyone for their support and to my teammates for standing with me."
While at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru in August, Walker helped Team Canada earn a berth at next year's Olympics in Tokyo.
Her suspension brings back painful memories of another local equestrian Canadian champion, Schomberg's Eric Lamaze, who tested positive for cocaine twice.
Walker's social media posts show that when she's not competing on the equestrian circuit, she spends her time at home in Aurora at the family-owned horse stables.
Dr. Lloyd Carlsen has been in the horse business for 40 years. His daughter Lisa Carlsen competes against Walker.
"Nikki's a very good girl, hardworking girl, very attentive. She loves the horses and rides very, very well."
Carlsen hopes her suspension is overturned. "I just don't believe that girl would ever take any drugs. Maybe a glass of wine, but no narcotics."
Walker's suspension could disqualify her and Team Canada from the event.