Shelby Houlihan, the reigning national champion and American record-holder at both 1,500 and 5,000 meters, composed on social networking Monday that she had been provisionally banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit after testing positive for nandrolone, that has been observed in pork. She stated she appealed the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and was informed Friday that it didn't accept her explanation.
"I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the sport that I've loved and poured myself into just to see how great I had been," that the 28-year-old composed in an Instagram post.
"I want to be very clear. I haven't taken any performance enhancing compounds. And that includes that of which I'm being accused."
The AIU -- which runs the anti-doping program for track and field's international governing body, World Athletics -- declared Houlihan's ban ancient Tuesday.
"After being charged by the AIU, Ms Houlihan's case was heard by a three-member panel in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which made its decision after hearing arguments and evidence in the athlete's lawyers and the AIU. CAS has advised us that the complete arbitral award with grounds for the decision will be issued in due course."
The information of Houlihan's four-year ban comes less than a week before the start of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, and a bit more than a month before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where Houlihan was expected to compete for a medal. The ban will also prevent her from competing at the next version of the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024.
Teammate Karissa Schweizer described the punishment in that an Instagram post as"a death sentence to (Houlihan's) career." Jerry Schumacher, who coaches Houlihan within the Bowerman Track Club, called it"a great disaster in the history of American distance running."
"During this process we were convinced that the truth would lead to justice," he wrote in a letter published on the club's website . "What I have come to learn rather is that anti-doping governments are okay with convicting innocent athletes so long as eight out of ten convictions are valid. That isn't right."
According to Houlihan's article on Instagram, she tested positive for nandrolone on Dec. 15. When informed of the result of email one month afterwards, she said she"had to read it more than ten times and google exactly what it was I had just tested positive for."
In the subsequent five days, Houlihan logged each of the food that she ate round the time of this test, based on her Instagram post. She afterwards discovered that investigators have linked trace quantities of nandrolone together with the usage of boar meat or pork, such as offal, which is made up of pig's organs.
"We reasoned that the most likely explanation was a burrito bought and consumed about 10 hours prior to that drug test from a true Mexican food truck that serves pig offal near my home in Beaverton, Oregon," Houlihan explained.
Houlihan noted that the presence of nandrolone in her sample has been categorized as an adverse analytical finding as opposed to an irregular discovering -- a small but important distinction in the world of anti-doping. An atypical finding is not as serious and would have simply triggered further investigation, rather than a provisional ban.
"They might have reported this as an atypical discovering and followed up with further testing," Houlihan wrote. "The anti-doping specialists I've reached out to say they should have."
Houlihan is the latest in a long line of athletes who have cited contaminated meat as the origin of their positive doping test.
In 2010, a coach for Chinese judoka Tong Wen cited pork chops because why she tested positive for clenbuterol, which increases lean muscle and reduces body fat. Tour de France winner Alberto Contador blamed his positive test on poor beef. And fighter Tyson Fury, who tested positive for nandrolone at 2015, pointed to wild boar meat as the reason behind his result.
"Inadvertent doping because of the contamination of meat or medication is a very complex problem, particularly in light of their ever-growing levels of sensitivity achieved in the discovery of illegal substances by WADA-accredited laboratories," Olivier Rabin of their World Anti-Doping Agency stated in a statement last month, as its"contaminants working class" continued to examine how it copes with positive evaluations possibly due to contaminated meat along with other substances.
A 12-time All-American at Arizona State, Houlihan had emerged in recent years as one of the United States' highest talents in the middle distances, particularly 1,500 meters. Since 2017, the Iowa native has won five indoor national titles and three outdoor national titles. She reached the Olympic final and placed 11th in 5,000 meters at Rio.
Based on data published by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Houlihan has been drug-tested at least eight times up to now in 2021. She took at least 16 evaluations this past year, 15 at 2019 and 10 at 2018. The figures only include evaluations which were requested or initiated by USADA.