April 2, 2018
USADA announced today that Nicholas Gough, of Queensbury, N.Y., an athlete in the sport of triathlon, has received a four-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.
Gough, 32, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on November 3, 2017. EPO is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, and Related Substances and prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the International Triathlon Union Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Although EPO has a long history of abuse in endurance sports, recent advances in both direct and indirect detection methods, including the hematological module of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), allow for increased detection sensitivity through longitudinal monitoring of blood-based biomarkers. To improve doping detection and deterrence, atypical ABP profiles can be used to inform target testing efforts and assign further analyses to urine and blood samples to detect EPO and EPO analogues.
Gough’s four-year period of ineligibility began on December 22, 2017, the date he accepted a provisional suspension. In addition, Gough has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to November 3, 2017, 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 recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global 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.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 1-877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253) or by mail.
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.