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Olympic Wrestling Athlete Ellis Coleman Receives 24-Month Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Wrestling.USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) has concluded the case of Olympic wrestling athlete Ellis Coleman, of Colorado Springs, Colo., and determined that Coleman should receive a 24-month sanction for his anti-doping rule violation. The decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and fully argued at an evidentiary hearing on July 28, 2022.

Coleman, 31, tested positive for an anabolic agent as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample collected on December 15, 2021. His urine sample was analyzed using a specialized test known as Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS), that unequivocally differentiates between anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) naturally produced by the body and AAS of synthetic origin—in this case, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) or its precursors.

All AAS are Non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and are prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the United World Wrestling Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

During its investigation into the circumstances of the case, USADA determined that Coleman used a supplement that listed the prohibited anabolic agent DHEA on the label. Although USADA provided Mr. Coleman ample anti-doping education, Coleman instead asked a military physician’s assistant (PA) if the product was “legal” to use. The PA said that it was, but Coleman did not determine if the PA knew of or understood the applicable anti-doping rules.

The arbitrator concluded that Coleman’s degree of fault was significant due to a number of factors, including the athlete’s extensive anti-doping education and failure to check the ingredients on the label to determine for himself whether it contained a prohibited substance.

Coleman’s 24-month period of ineligibility began on February 28, 2022, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. In addition, Coleman has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained December 15, 2021, the date of his positive test, through February 28, 2022, the date his provisional suspension was imposed, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

Cover of Ellis Coleman arbitration decision.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 a supplement guide, a nutrition guide, a clean sport handbook, and periodic alerts and advisories.

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 text at 87232 (“USADA”), 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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