USADA announced today that Zach Gehm, of Harmony, Pa., an athlete in the sport of track and field, has accepted an additional three-month sanction for competing while ineligible.
Gehm, 21, initially accepted a two-year period of ineligibility and loss of results in November 2019 after his sample, collected in-competition at the USA Track & Field U20 Outdoor Championships on June 22, 2019, tested positive for a prohibited stimulant. The announcement regarding Gehm’s initial violation can be found here.
Under the terms of his initial sanction, Gehm is prohibited from participating in any capacity in a competition or activity authorized or organized by USA Track & Field, any professional league, any international-level or national-level event organization like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), or any elite or national-level sporting activity funded by a governmental agency during his period of ineligibility. Gehm participated in NCAA-sanctioned events between January 2020 and March 2020, thereby violating the terms of his sanction.
Upon investigating the circumstances of the violation, USADA concluded that Gehm was operating under the mistaken belief that the terms of his sanction did not prohibit him from participating in NCAA-sanctioned events. USADA concluded that an additional period of ineligibility was warranted, however, because the NCAA is a national-level event organization.
Gehm accepted an additional three-month period of ineligibility, meaning his original two-year period of ineligibility, which began on June 22, 2019, has been increased to a 27-month period of ineligibility.
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 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.
USADA makes available a number of ways to report violations of an athlete’s period of ineligibility and 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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