US Olympic hopeful Shelby Houlihan has blamed a burrito after been banned from competing for four years for testing positive for a prohibited substance. The 1500m and 5000m American record holder was told in January that the anabolic steroid nandrolone had been found in a doping sample.
Houlihan’s announcement came days before the start of U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, where the top three in each event earn a spot to the postponed Tokyo Games. She finished 11th at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 5,000m.
Houlihan pointed the finger at a tainted pork burrito in an Instagram post. The 28-year-old athlete said: “In the following five days after being notified, I put together a food log of everything that I consumed the week of that December 15th test.
“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.
She said: “I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into. “I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance-enhancing substances.
“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.”
Houlihan went on: “I did everything I could to prove my innocence. I passed a polygraph test. I had my hair sampled by one of the world’s foremost toxicologists. “Wada agreed that test proved that there was no build-up of this substance in my body, which there would have been if I were taking it regularly.”