Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan claims a pork burrito is to blame for positive steroid test that banned her from sport

AN OLYMPIC runner has claimed a pork burrito is to blame for the positive steroid test that saw her banned from the sport for four years.

Shelby Houlihan, 28, posted a lengthy statement about her suspension to her Instagram page on Monday to say she feels "completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed" by the decision.

The professional athlete said she received an email from the Athletics Integrity Unit in January to say she had tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in December.

She wrote: "When I got that email, I had to read it over about ten times and google what it was that I had just tested positive for.

"I had never even heard of nandrolone."

Houlihan explained that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledges "that eating pork can lead to a false positive for nandrolone."

That's because "certain types of pigs produce it naturally in high amounts" with "pig organ meat (offal) containing the highest levels of nandrolone," she added.

After compiling a food log Houlihan said: "We concluded that the most likely explanation was a burrito purchased and consumed approximately 10 hours before that drug test from an authentic Mexican food truck that serves pig offal near my house in Beaverton, Oregon."

But the Court of Arbitration rejected her explanation meaning her four-year ban will stay.

The American runner, who holds the record in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, will no longer be able to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Houlihan added: "I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance enhancing substances. And that includes that of which I am being accused.

"WADA agreed that test proved that there was no build up of this substance in my body, which there would have been if I were taking it regularly.

"Since I started running when I was 5 years old, I've had dreams of running professionally, setting records, winning an Olympic gold medal and being one of the best in the world.

"I have always blindly believed that I was good enough to achieve those things.

"I believe in the sport and pushing your body to the limit just to see where the limit is. I'm not interested in cheating.

"I don't do this for the accolades, money, or for people to know my name. I do this because I love it. I have so much fun doing it and it's always the best part of my day."

Her coach Jerry Schumacher said: "I do not understand how any competent and unbiased body could fail to conclude that Shelby is innocent. 

"Shelby was treated unfairly at every step of this process.

"What we are witnessing here is a great tragedy in the history of American distance running."

Nandrolone is a synthetic, anabolic steroid analog of testosterone, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It can be used for testosterone replacement therapy to increase nitrogen retention and fat-free muscle mass, according to the NIH.

The AIU said in a statement to CNN that it "applies the World Anti-Doping Code equally to athletes from all over the world."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to release its full reasoning in the coming days, but Houlihan’s lawyer Paul Greene said an appeal to the Swiss federal tribunal was being considered.

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