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U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

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U.S. Track & Field Athlete, Cliff Nielson, Receives Sanction for Non-Analytical Anti-Doping Rule Violation

USADA announced today that Cliff Nielson, of Chandler, Ariz., an athlete in the sport of track & field, has received a four-year sanction for a non-analytical anti-doping rule violation involving his use of prohibited substances.

Nielson, 25, was sanctioned for his use and possession of multiple prohibited growth hormone (GH) releasing factors (GHRFs), including a GH-Releasing Hormone (GHRH) analog modified GRF (1-29), a GH Secretagogue (GHS) ipamorelin, GH Releasing Peptide (GHRP) GHRP-2 from September 14, 2014 through approximately May 18, 2015. These substances are in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics and are 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 Association of Athletics Federations Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

The use of prohibited peptides by athletes and consumers for performance or physique enhancement purposes (including recovery from injury) poses serious health risks, and these peptides are not approved by the FDA for human use or consumption. These products, often branded as for “research/laboratory use only,” have not received any human clinical safety or efficacy evaluation, and are not produced according to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations. As such, they may cause serious adverse health effects, including immune and toxicity reactions, infection, and even death.

Nielson’s four-year period of ineligibility began on April 26, 2017, the date on which his sanction was imposed. In addition, Nielson has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to September 14, 2014, the date the available evidence indicates he first attempted to obtain prohibited substances in violation of applicable rules, 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.

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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