CAS Media Release
Lausanne, 15 June 2021 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the US track and field athlete Shelby Houlihan and World Athletics (WA):
• Shelby Houlihan is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) pursuant to Rule 2.1 and Rule 2.2 of the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules.
• Shelby Houlihan is subject to a period of ineligibility of four (4) years starting on 14 January 2021.
• All competitive results obtained by Shelby Houlihan from 15 December 2020 through to 14 January 2021 are disqualified, including forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points and prize and appearance money obtained during this period.
On 15 December 2020, Shelby Houlihan provided an out-of-competition urine sample which was positive for nandrolone, specifically 19-norandrosterone (“19NA”), an Anabolic Androgenic Steroid prohibited at all times according to the WADA Prohibited list. On 14 January 2021, the Athletics Integrity Unit (“AIU”) imposed a provisional suspension on the Athlete.
The parties to the proceedings, with the consent of WADA, agreed that the matter be heard in a single hearing directly at CAS. The Panel of CAS arbitrators appointed to decide the matter held a hearing with the parties by video-conference on 4 June 2021.
WA put forward that 1) the A and B Samples were properly reported as Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) by the laboratory and 2) the Athlete failed to establish the origin of the 19NA in her system and therefore has committed an intentional ADRV and should be sanctioned with the period of ineligibility of 4 years. The Athlete asserted that the laboratory’s A-Sample AAF was wrongly
confirmed by an improper B-Sample confirmation process that failed to follow the mandates of the Technical Documents governing the analysis and reporting of the 19NA as she had alleged an ingestion of pig offal and thus by her assertion, the laboratory should have carried out additional testing. Therefore, the AIU had no basis to bring a Notice of Charge against her.
The CAS Panel (by majority) found that the athlete neither rebutted the presumption that the AAF was properly reported pursuant to the ISL, nor rebutted the presumption that the ADRV was properly managed, asserted and notified pursuant to the International Standard for Results Management (ISRM).
Finally, the CAS Panel unanimously determined that Shelby Houlihan had failed, on the balance of probability, to establish the source of the prohibited substance. As a result of which she was found to have committed an intentional ADRV and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility starting on 14 January 2021. The CAS Panel has issued its decision only, without the grounds which will be notified in short order.