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US Paralympic Cycling Athlete, Morelli, Accepts Sanction For Rule Violation

November 15, 2013

USADA announced today that Shawn Morelli, of Leavenworth. Kan., an athlete in the sport of Paralympic cycling, has been cleared to return to competition after testing positive for a prohibited substance.

Morelli, 37, provided an in-competition urine sample following her time trial win at the Greenville SC Para-cycling Open on April 20, 2013.  The sample had a low level amount of a prohibited stimulant, Methylhexaneamine. Certain stimulants are prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and International Paralympic Committee (“IPC”) Anti‐Doping Code, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. Methylhexaneamine is classified as a Specified Substance, and therefore the presence of that substance in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction.

After a full review of the facts surrounding Morelli’s case, USADA concluded that there were mitigating circumstances that indicated Morelli had inadvertently ingested the prohibited substance and substantially reduced her level of fault for the anti-doping rule violation. Accordingly, it was determined that Morelli, who had willingly accepted a provisional suspension on May 20, 2013, pending the resolution of USADA’s investigation, should immediately be allowed to return to competition.

Although USADA accepted Morelli’s explanation that her ingestion of Methylhexaneamine was inadvertent and not intended to enhance her performance, in accordance with the rules, all of Morelli’s competitive results achieved on April 20, 2013, the date her sample was collected, have been disqualified including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all 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. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.

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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