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U.S. Gymnastics Athlete Laura Zeng Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

gymnastics handsUSADA announced today that Laura Zeng, of Libertyville, Ill., an athlete in the sport of gymnastics, has accepted a six-month suspension for an anti-doping rule violation.

Zeng, 19, tested positive for acetazolamide from an out-of-competition urine sample collected on October 18, 2018. Acetazolamide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents 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 Gymnastics Federation Anti-Doping Rules, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

During a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her positive test, Zeng provided evidence, including whereabouts and prescription details, that the prohibited substance detected in her sample was from an altitude sickness medication prescribed to her parent that was given to her in response to an illness she experienced while traveling in a high-altitude location. Zeng indicated she believed she was being provided ibuprofen and, therefore, did not have or apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption, which is required to authorize the use of a prohibited substance in sport.

Zeng’s six-month period of ineligibility began on October 18, 2018, the date her positive sample was collected. In addition, Zeng has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to October 18, 2018, 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 obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements (www.Supplement411.org) 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, 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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