An interesting case happened in the world of sports. Shelby Houlihan, an American middle distance runner, received a four-year ban for being positive for nandrolone. Nandrolone is a steroid that increases muscle mass. After all that, Houlihan spoke in an interesting way: "On January 14th, 2021, I received an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), informing me a drug testing sample that I provided on December 15th, 2020 has returned as an Adverse Analytical Finding for an anabolic steroid called Nandrolone and that I am therefore subject to an immediate Provisional Suspension."
Shelby Houlihan was initially shocked by what she read and had to google what it was about. "When I got that email, I had to read it over about ten times and google what it was that I had just tested positive for. I had never even heard of nandrolone.
“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." “In the following 5 days after being notified, I put together a food log of everything that I consumed the week of that December 15th test."
Shelby tried to remember what might be the reason for the positive test and then realized it was probably a burritos she had bought 10 hours before she was tested "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”.
"Although my levels were consistent with those of subjects in studies who were tested 10 hours after eating this source and WADA technical guidelines require the lab to consider it when analyzing nandrolone, the lab never accounted for this possibility."
"They could have reported this as an atypical finding and followed up with further testing. The anti-doping experts I have reached out to say they should have. I did everything I could to prove my innocence."
Shelby even decided to go for a polygraph "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."
"Nothing moved the lab from their initial snap decision. Instead, they simply concluded that I was a cheater and that a steroid was ingested orally, but not regularly." "I believe my explanation fits the facts much better- because it’s true.
I also believe it was dismissed without proper due process. After all, she found out that she was suspended for 4 years, which caused great shock and disappointment "On June 11th, I received the news that the Court of Arbitration did not accept my explanation of what had occurred and has subsequently banned me from the sport for four years."
"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." Eventually she revealed that cheating is not something she loves "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.