4 Years After Expulsion for Pot, New Jersey Olympian Hopes to Redefine Himself in Rio Games

Nicholas Delpopolo 2
NBC4

What to Know

  • Nick Delpopolo was disqualified from the 2012 Olympics after he tested positive for cannabis
  • He said he ate a brownie at a party and didn't know it was laced with pot
  • The judoka is hoping for redemption in Rio

A New Jersey judoka who was expelled from the London 2012 Olympics after he tested positive for marijuana is looking for a second chance in Rio next month. 

Nick Delpopolo, 27, has trained hard at judo since his expulsion four years ago, when he tested positive for cannabis after eating a pot brownie at a celebration party.

Delpopolo says he didn't know that the dessert contained marijuana when he ate it and that "it was the worst thing I have ever done in my life," Patch reported

The Olympian says he was ridiculed and snubbed after the expulsion. 

"I would think, 'Why can't they forgive me?' They were even going so far as to attack my family," he told Patch. 

After his sponsors dropped him, Delpopolo was in a dark place. He says it was letters he received from fans, including fellow athletes, that got him back on his feet and more determined than ever to return to the Olympics as a judo player.  

“I just didn’t want me being expelled from the Olympics to define my judo career, because that is a pretty crappy way to go out," he said. 

Delpopolo worked hard so he could afford to train more. He eventually picked up a new sponsor, Alan Gebheart. 

"Without him I really wouldn't be here," Delpopolo said. 

At the Rio 2016 Olympics he hopes to get a second chance and to show others that "negative things happen but don't let it define you."

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