AIU objects to Houlihan running at U.S. trials
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Thursday it has written to USA Track & Field (USATF) to stress that middle distance runner Shelby Houlihan was prohibited from competing in this month›s Olympic trials.
The American recordholder in the 1,500 metres and 5,000 metres was controversially included in the starting line-up for those two events, despite receiving a four-year ban for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Without addressing Houlihan directly, USA Track & Field (USATF) earlier said that any athlete facing an active appeal process would be allowed to compete at the trials, which kick off on Friday, in Eugene, Oregon. The AIU said it had written the USATF and that the 28-year-old›s participation was ‘strictly prohibited.’
«A final and binding (Court of Arbitration for Sport) decision confirmed that Ms. Houlihan committed AntiDoping Rule Violations and was subject to a period of four (4) years beginning 14 January 2021,» the organisation said in a written statement.
The USATF did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Houlihan said this week the AIU informed her in January that a test showed she had returned an ‘adverse analytical finding’ for nandrolone. She denied knowingly ingesting the substance and said she was innocent of any wrongdoing, saying in an announcement posted on social media that a pork burrito she ate the night prior to the test was likely to blame.
A group of athletes, including 2016 3,000-meter steeplechase Bronze medalist Emma Coburn, 2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden and marathon runner Molly Seidel, penned an open letter voicing their objection to Houlihan›s participation. «It creates an opportunity for athletes convicted of doping to compete in the future, which is not a standard that›s ever been applied in the past,» the athletes said in a letter issued via the Clean Sport Collective. (Reuters)