IN the pantheon of Jamaican sprinting, triple Olympic gold medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown was once a bigger name than Usain Bolt.

However, Jamaican media last week revealed that she has tested positive for a notorious agent used to mask performance-enhancing drugs. Sentence is expected this week, but given the doping code's imposition of strict liability on an athlete for whatever they have in their system, there can be but one outcome – a two-year suspension which would focus most unwelcome attention and highlight the dubious provenance of Jamaica's sprint heritage.

The drug in question, a diuretic traded under the brand name Lasix, is used to treat high blood pressure and aid weight loss. The World Anti-Doping Agency considers it a masking agent, helping to flush out illegal drugs. In London last year, where Campbell-Brown won 100 metres bronze and a career seventh Olympic medal (silver in the relay), she spoke of having suffered from low blood pressure after having finished fourth in her bid to win a unique third successive 200m title.

The youngest Jamaican ever to win an Olympic medal (silver, 4 x 100m, Sydney) she won the Olympic 200m and World 100m titles before Usain Bolt made his seismic impact in 2008. The numerous Jamaicans in sprinting's Hall of Fame include Herb McKenley, Lennox Miller, Don Quarrie, Merlene Ottey, and Asafa Powell, yet none won a senior World or Olympic 100m gold medal. When Campbell-Brown took the World 100m crown in 2007 (coached by Lance Brauman from a federal prison) it was Jamaica's first global 100m title.

She carried her nation's flag at Beijing's opening ceremony, but she was soon eclipsed. Bolt's three titles and world records installed him as standard-bearer for the sport, never mind his country, by the close in China. Though his incandescant light has dimmed that of his 31-year-old female compatriot, Campbell-Brown is reigning World 200m champion and took the World indoor titles at 60m in 2010 and then successfuly defended it last year. She has 16 medals at World level (eight of them gold) through the age groups, plus three Commonwealth silvers.

She was tested in Kingston at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 4, to which the International Association of Athletics Federations sent an an anti-doping team. If her conviction is confirmed, she would inarguably be the biggest athletics name to fall since Marion Jones.

Yet this Unesco ambassador and poster girl for her sport would by no means be the first Jamaican tainted by doping. Two days before her test results were revealed, 400m runner Dominique Blake was banned for six years. She used a banned stimulant at the country's Olympic trials last year having committed the same offence in 2006. She was selected for the 4 x 400m in London but did not participate as Jamaica won bronze.

No less than 18 Jamaican sprinters are either serving or have recently served doping suspensions. That's a remarkable number for a nation of just 2.7m. Russia is being pilloried as an outrageous offender with 37 currently sanctioned athletes, but their population is more than 50 times that of Jamaica.

Among recently suspended are Yohan Blake, 100 and 200m runner-up to Bolt in London, and women's 100m champion Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price, plus Steve Mullings, one of Bolt's team-mates on the 2009 World Championship gold medal quartet. Blake served a three-month ban in 2009 and Fraser-Price a six-month one the following year. Mullings beat 10 seconds for the first time, aged 28, in 2011. He did so seven times that year, but tested positive for furosemide and was banned for life.

Furosemide? It's what Lasix is most commonly marketed as.

In addition, in 2010, Ray Stewart, who enjoyed a 16-year career which included Olympic, World and Commonwealth medals, was banned for life. By then he was a coach. His offence was trafficking drugs for his athletes. Lansford Spence, who won silver in both the 200m and 4 x 100m in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, did so having served a three-month suspension for a stimulant along with Blake and Commonwealth 100m champion Sheri-Ann Brooks the previous year.

It's as hard to overstate Jamaica's sprint prowess as it is to understate their doping record. Eleven female sprinters and seven men from the island won sprint medals last year in London, at 100, 200, 4 x 100, 4 x 400m and 110m hurdles. Yet the country's doping record demands we be sceptical, however much we wish to embrace and believe in Bolt's joyful performances.

Campbell-Brown's talent was first apparent as a child. She used to enjoy recounting how her mother sent her to buy eggs, and put the fat on the fire: "knowing I would be back in time before it burned out."

The fat now looks in the fire for Campbell-Brown who was wont to claim current women sprinters were denied opportunities because of records set by drug-tainted Eastern Europeans. Her predicament will inevitably bring her compatriots under greater scrutiny, especially in Glasgow next year.