Shelby Houlihan, the US 1,500 and 5,000 meter record holder, faces a four-year ban after failing an anti-doping test . The runner has tested positive for nandrolone and this has been an earthquake within the world of American athletics, but also on a personal level for the athlete who wanted to compete soon in the women’s 1,500m of the United States athletics trials and qualify for the Games from Tokyo .
As confirmed by the Bowerman Track Club athlete through a press conference via Zoom, the positive for nandrolone (anabolic-androgenic steroid) occurred after ingesting contaminated pork from a burrito that he ate from a food truck near her home in Beaverton, Oregon, 10 hours before the test. That is why both his coaches and his lawyer strongly disagreed with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) decision.
How Was Shelby Houlihan Nandrolone Positive
Houlihan’s lawyer, Paul Greene, details that he tested positive for nandrolone on December 15, 2020 and that he was not notified until January 14, 2021. In addition, he says that the level of nandrolone found in the test was extremely low that it was even impossible to distinguish where it came from. The American athlete, Olympian in 2016, has tried to prove her innocence since she heard this news, since she has also provided an analysis of her hair and a polygraph test.
n said at the conference. press. The AIU, which conducts doping tests for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), “simply concluded that I was a cheater,” he says. “I feel betrayed by the sport I loved,” she adds. ” I want to be very clear: I have never taken performance enhancing substances . I will not accept a four-year sanction for something I never did or would ever do.
Houlihan’s coaches, Jerry Schumacher and Shalane Flanagan, also spoke at this virtual press conference via Zoom. “Over the course of the past six months, I have learned more than I wanted to know about doping controls, procedures and the organizations that govern our sport,” Schumacher said in a statement he read. “What I have learned has eroded any faith I had in his ability to fairly serve and protect clean athletes.”
“Throughout this process we were confident that the truth would lead us to justice. What I have learned instead is that anti-doping authorities agree to convict innocent athletes as long as nine out of ten convictions are legitimate. That is a mistake. Our doping control technology is becoming so sensitive, “he continued,” that labs are catching an ever-increasing number of clean athletes. ”
The AIU and the TAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) have not yet made any public statement regarding their decision to remove the athlete from competition for 4 years. However, Shelby Houlihan can file another appeal in the Swiss federal court, but this process takes months or even years. His disqualification took effect on January 14, 2021 and is expected to last until January 13, 2025.
Following the news, American athletics went haywire as they were just days away from the Olympic qualifying events for Tokyo. However, the most surprising thing was when USA Track & Field published the lists of the athletes that would be this weekend at Hayward Field, since the name of Shelby Houlihan appeared in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters.
In addition, Susan Hazzard, USATF communications director, testified about this case through social media saying that “since there is an active appeal process, the USATF will allow any athlete to continue competing until the process is complete.” But later, the director general of the Olympic and Paralympic Committee of USA ., Sarah Hirshland, opposed this decision. “The Committee Olympic and Paralympic USA ., Along with USATF can confirm that adhere to the WADA Code and any decision of the TAS governing the participation of athletes in sanctioned events , ” he reads the statement issued hours later .
If Houlihan shows up, it would be a violation of world anti-doping rules. And this is confirmed by the director general of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart to the Associated Press news agency: “She is serving a sanction. According to the rules, she cannot compete. It would be illegal for her to do so, unless a court order otherwise. ” And at the end of the day, it seemed that Houlihan would be excluded from the Trials again, with the USATF backing down after the pressure. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a statement: “All member associations must abide by CAS decisions according to the WADA code.”
Who is athlete Shelby Houlihan?
28-year-old Shelby Houlihan has been one of the best midfielders in the history of US athletics in recent years. She set the US record of 1,500 meters with 3: 54.99 in October 2019 at the Doha World Cup, where she finished fourth. In 2020, while all major competitions had been canceled due to the pandemic, his team organized a series of intra-school meetings. On July 10, Houlihan ran 14: 23.92 in the 5,000 meters , breaking his own American record of 14: 34.45 in 2018.
Shelby has not appeared in the race results since August 2020, when he ran an 800-meter intrasquad in 2: 01.08. This spring, it was thought that he was battling persistent injuries, which prevented him from competing, but was already serving a provisional penalty. In her first Olympic appearance, in 2016, Houlihan finished 11th in the 5,000 meters in 15: 08.89. However, after this news, he will not be able to fight in the 1,500 test in the trials that were to be held recently that would lead him to his second Olympic appointment.