USADA announced today that Miranda Merrell, of Mapleton, Utah, an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, has accepted a two-year suspension for her possession and use of a prohibited substance.
Merrell, 33, violated the applicable anti-doping rules through her possession and use of oxandrolone in May 2017. Oxandrolone is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents 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 International Weightlifting Federation Anti-Doping Policy, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Merrell’s sanction was reduced from four years to two years because she did not specifically know her coach had provided her the prohibited substance, although he did encourage her to use prohibited substance to increase her performance.
Merrell’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 11, 2019, the date she accepted a sanction. In addition, Merrell has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on and subsequent to May 1, 2017, the approximate date that she first used oxandrolone, 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, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. If athletes choose to use supplements despite the known risks, USADA has always recommended that athletes use only dietary supplements that have been certified by a third-party program that tests for substances prohibited in sport. USADA currently recognizes NSF Certified for Sport® as the program best suited for athletes to reduce the risk from supplements.
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 email@example.com, 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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