USADA announced today that Ina Pfuhler, of Cincinnati, Ohio, an athlete in the sport of cycling, has accepted a two-year sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.
Pfuhler, 55, tested positive for an anabolic agent as the result of an in-competition sample collected at the Gran Fondo National Championship on September 17, 2023, a highly regarded cycling event where she placed second overall. Her urine sample was analyzed using a specialized test that differentiates between anabolic androgenic steroids naturally produced by the body and prohibited anabolic agents of external origin. She also declared the use of this substance in a follow-up email to USADA immediately following sample collection.
Anabolic agents, including testosterone, 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 Policies, and the International Cycling Union Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
After investigating, USADA determined that Pfuhler was taking testosterone at the direction of a physician but lacked a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). Under the USADA TUE Policy, an athlete has the responsibility to demonstrate that the medical need to treat an acute or chronic condition satisfies the strict criteria within the WADA International Standard for TUEs (ISTUE). Anabolic agents like testosterone have powerful performance-enhancing capabilities and can give an athlete an unfair advantage over fellow competitors, which is why criteria must be fulfilled beyond merely providing a prescription.
Pfuhler’s two-year period of ineligibility began on December 7, 2023, the date her provisional suspension was imposed. Pfuhler has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to September 17, 2023 including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
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 (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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