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AAA Arbitrator Imposes Four-Year Sanction on Rugby Athlete Lorenzo Thomas for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Man setting up a rugby oval to kick.USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) has concluded the case of rugby athlete Lorenzo Thomas, of St. Charles, Mo., and has determined that Thomas should receive a four-year sanction for his anti-doping rule violations. The decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and fully argued at an evidentiary hearing on January 28, 2021.

Thomas, 24, tested positive for two metabolites of GW1516 (GW501516) as the result of an out-of-competition drug test conducted on July 9, 2019. GW1516 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and the World Rugby Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

The athlete’s counsel challenged the integrity of the sample collection but after live sworn testimony from the USADA Doping Control Officer and reviewing the paperwork completed during the collection, the independent arbitrator found that USADA followed the procedures and that there were no departures from the collection procedures. The arbitrator upheld the integrity of the collection process and the laboratory finding of the positive. Further, the arbitrator determined the appropriate sanction under the WADA Code based on the totality of the evidence to be four years.

AAA Decision

Thomas’ four-year period of ineligibility began on July 25, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, Thomas results have been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on the date of his positive test, July 9, 2019, through the date of provisional suspension, July 25, 2019, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

The arbitrator’s award, as well as other arbitral decisions, may be found here.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as 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 file and update athlete Whereabouts, 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 distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as an easy-reference wallet card with examples of prohibited and permitted substances, a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, an athlete handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

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 playclean@usada.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.

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