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AAA Arbitrator Imposes Two-Year Sanction on Para Shooting Athlete Tricia Downing

image of paper target full of bullet holesUSADA announced today that an independent arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) has rendered a decision in the case of Para shooting athlete Tricia Downing, of Denver, Colo. After an evidentiary hearing on April 6, 2022, where both Downing and USADA were provided a full opportunity to present their cases and witnesses to the independent arbitrator, the arbitrator determined that Downing will receive a two-year sanction for testing positive for a prohibited substance.

Downing, 52, tested positive for an anabolic agent as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample collected on March 4, 2021. Her 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, testosterone or its precursors. In the decision, the arbitrator emphasized that Downing was educated about and had access to a plethora of anti-doping resources including Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO) and USADA’s Drug Reference Phone Line.

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 International Paralympic Committee Anti-Doping Code, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

AAA Decision

Downing’s two-year period of ineligibility began on July 26, 2021, the date her provisional suspension was imposed. Article 10.10 of the World Anti-Doping Code provides that all competitive results an athlete obtains from the date a positive sample is collected through the date a provisional suspension is imposed shall be disqualified unless fairness requires otherwise. The arbitrator declined to disqualify Downing’s competitive results obtained between March 4, 2021 and July 26, 2021, finding that Downing had not been notified of her positive test at the time of her competition in June 2021, and there was no evidence her limited use of the prohibited substance improved her performance at that competition.

This decision, as well as other arbitral decisions, can 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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