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Kory Merrill Tarpenning (born February 27, 1962 in Portland, Oregon) is a retired American pole vaulter best known for finishing fourth at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, having previously competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. His personal best vault was 5.89 m (19 ft 3 3⁄4 in), achieved in July 1988 in Indianapolis.
Aside from his Olympic appearances, he placed fourth at both the 1991 IAAF World Indoor Championships and 1994 IAAF Grand Prix Final. He also competed at the 1992 IAAF World Cup, but failed to register a valid mark. He was a four time national champion in his discipline, having won at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1988 and 1989 and the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in 1991 and 1994.
Asked his opinion, around the 1988 Seoul Olympics, on the prevalence of doping in athletics he responded "We know a lot of athletes are using drugs, but they're able to test negatively because they know the system so well." At the 1992 Olympics Tarpenning ascribed his good performance to his use of legal and World Anti Doping Agency approved Chinese herbal medicines, including deer antler and ginseng.
Tarpenning tested positive for anabolic steroids in 1997 and received a 2-year ban, despite an appeals board hearing that he was administered a prohibited substance by a physician's assistant during treatment for a hamstring injury, where the medicine prescribed was a type of cortisone.
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