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U.S. Runner Shelby Houlihan Blames Burrito For Positive Doping Test

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Shelby Houlihan, 28 of Beaverton, Oregon, who is the American record holder in the women's 1,500 and 5,000 metres, is banned for four years after failing to prove that pork from a pork burrito bought at a Mexican street food truck caused her positive test for the steroid nandrolone. She states in an Instagram post:

“We concluded that the most likely explanation was a burrito purchased and consumed approximately 10 hours before that drug test from an authentic Mexican food truck that serves pig offal near my house in Beaverton, Oregon. I notified the AIU that I believed this was the source.”

“I have since learned that it has long been understood by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) that eating pork can lead to a false positive for nandrolone, since certain types of pigs produce it naturally in high amounts. Pig organ meat (offal) has the highest levels of nandrolone.”

Although Houlihan passed a polygraph test and had hair samples taken and analyzed by one of the world’s foremost toxicologists that showed no buildup of nandrolone in her body, the sentence still stuck. On June 11th, Houlihan received the news that the Court of Arbitration did not accept her explanation of what had occurred and has subsequently banned her from the sport for four years.

According to the CBC:

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed Tuesday, June 15, 2021, its panel of judges "unanimously determined that Shelby Houlihan had failed" to prove how the anabolic steroid nandrolone got into her system. The case was fast-tracked with the consent of all parties to be heard on June 4 by video link with the court in Lausanne, Switzerland. The verdict was announced without a detailed verdict.”

The news of Houlihan’s ban stayed confidential until Houlihan's own announcement of the positive doping test and ban that runs to January 2025. This doesn't only take her out of the Tokyo Olympica, but also takes her out of the 2024 Paris Olympics and the first track worlds to be held in the United States, next year in Eugene.

“I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was….I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance enhancing substances. And that includes that of which I am being accused. I believe in the sport and pushing your body to the limit just to see where the limit is. I’m not interested in cheating. I don’t do this for the accolades, money, or for people to know my name. I do this because I love it. I have so much fun doing it and it’s always the best part of my day.”


A post shared by Shelby Houlihan (@shelbo800)

SOURCES: cbc.ca, Instagram

*© Images courtesy of Instagram

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