October 18, 2010
USADA announced today that an independent, three-member American Arbitration Association (AAA) panel issued its decision that LaShawn Merritt, an athlete in the sport of Track & Field, committed a doping violation and will receive a suspension for the offense.
Merritt, 24, of Norfolk, Virginia, provided out-of-competition urine samples on October 28, 2009, December 8, 2009, and January 16, 2010. The samples resulted in Adverse Analytical Findings for testosterone prohormones, which are prohibited in the class of Anabolic Agents under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) anti-doping rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. The test results are consistent with the use of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
As a result of the arbitration decision, Merritt received a 21-month period of ineligibility, which began October 28, 2009, the day the first sample was collected. Merritt has also been disqualified from all competitive results achieved at and subsequent to October 28, 2009, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and psychoactive drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.