June 16, 2021 – A top US runner says eating a pork burrito may have caused a positive steroid test that led to her being banned from competing in the US Olympic Trials.
Shelby Houlihan, 28, competed for the United States at the 2016 Summer Games and holds the American records in the 1,500 and 5,000 metres. She was the favorite for a medal at this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo.
In an Instagram post, she said she learned on Monday that the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had upheld her 4-year suspension.
“I feel utterly devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused, and betrayed by the same sport I loved and hurt myself just to see how good I was,” she said in the post. “I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance-enhancing substances. This includes what I am accused of.”
Houlihan said she received an email in January from the Athletics Integrity Unit telling her that a drug test on December 15, 2020 came back positive for nandrolone.
The National Institutes of Health says nandrolone is an anabolic steroid analogue of testosterone that can increase nitrogen retention and lean muscle mass.
She said she recorded everything she ate during that time.
“We concluded that the most likely explanation was a burrito that was purchased and consumed approximately 10 hours prior to drug testing from a native Mexican food truck serving pig litter near my home in Beaverton, Oregon,” she wrote.
“I have since learned that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has long understood that eating pork can lead to a false-positive result for nandrolone, since certain types of pigs produce it naturally in large quantities. Porcine organ meat (the offal) contains ) at the highest levels of Nandrolone.”
Houlihan appealed the comment and said she went so far as to take a lie detector test and take her hair samples for evidence of doping, but the appeal was rejected.
New York times It reported that Brett Clotheer, head of the AIU, said the issue was properly handled.
“Following the AIU’s indictment, Ms Houlihan’s case was heard by a three-member panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which made its decision after hearing evidence and arguments from the athlete’s attorney and the AIU,” Clothier said in an email.