Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan said she had been banned from the sport for four years following a positive test for anabolic steroids that she attributes to eating a pork burrito. Houlihan said she was devastated to learn of the suspension from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body that combats doping after testing positive for nandrolone.
In a social media post, Houlihan said that a burrito she ate before the test contained pig organ meat, or offal, which she said can lead to a positive test for nandrolone. A study funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found trace amounts of nandrolone can be found in that kind of meat and warned about the possibility of a false positive.
The ban will prevent the 28-year-old from competing in the upcoming US Olympic Trials and the Tokyo Olympic Games. Doping accusations and investigations have led to multiple bans of athletes and even entire countries competing, including a two-year ban on Russia from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Houlihan said she learned on June 11 that her explanation of the positive test was not accepted by the Court of Arbitration, prompting the four-year ban. Houlihan said she did everything she could to prove her innocence and return to her beloved sport, including passing a polygraph test and having her hair sampled.