Jonathan Gault has written a FANTASTIC column on the complexities of the Shelby Houlihan case.
As a track fan, you basically have two option. you can believe.
1) Either Houlihan is lying, and today is a victory for clean sport.
2)She's innocent her case exposes fissures in an anti-doping system in need of overhaul.
Jonathan Gault knows which one he believes (#2).
In the piece, he goes through both arguments and actually includes two huge pieces of information. One helps Shelby. One hurts her. The case certainly is getting more and more complex the more we learn.
1) The head of the Montreal lab, Christiane Ayotte, who was proven to have provided false testimony in the Jarrion Lawson case, was actually the one who labeled Houlihan's test as a positive. After a subpoena of her lab's records, Ayotte was shown to have provided false testimony in the Lawson case that resulted in him getting cleared. She said it was impossible to determine based on testing if someone had taken a drug through food or not by mistake as everyone who tested positive did so at a similar tiny level as Lawson. She testified that in recent years, positive tests for trenbolone in her lab had always featured low concentrations of the substance, making it impossible to separate intentional cheaters from those who had ingested contaminated meat.
The actual records revealed Ayotte’s claim was not accurate. The CAS panel noted some of the levels measured "were large" and that 18 of the 21 positive tests for trenbolone since 2013 contained higher concentrations than Lawson’s .65 ng/mL. Lawson’s agent, Paul Doyle, told LetsRun.com the average concentration was 208 times higher.
Doyle was so upset by Ayotte's conduct that she said "Christiane Ayotte should be fired from her job and never be able to testify as an expert witness ever again.”
More info here: https://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=9944162
2) Houlihan didn't actually order a pork burrito - she ordered carne asada. So if you think Shelby is innocent, you need to believe the food truck messed up her order. If that seems implausible to you, her lawyer argues what would be even more implausible is for her to be taking nandrolene and get caught as it flushes out of your system super quickly. In his mind, she'd have to be a moron to do that. So who is more likely to have messed up - Shelby or the food truck?
“She actually ordered a carne asada burrito [the night before the test],” Greene says. “But based on what she ate, it was very, very greasy. The description of the others who actually ate with her was the same. We don’t know what she was given. But we know that the truck had pork offal in two of the eight burritos they were serving…When we hired the investigator, the carne asada burrito that she typically ordered was extremely dry, no grease at all. And the two [types of] burritos [that] had the offal, they both were very, very greasy.”
Greene believes, however, that pork offal is the only logical source of the nandrolone. If it did not come from the pork, he says, there are two ways it could have entered her body: an injection or via an oral supplement. The AIU conceded that it was not injected. If it had been, traces would still have remained in her system by the time of her next test on January 23 — which she passed. That leaves only the oral supplement, a method Greene says an athlete would have to be “a moron” to employ because, when ingested that way, the nandrolone leaves the body within 24 hours.
“To catch someone taking an oral steroid [and find a concentration] under 15 ng/mL, the window of detection is less than an hour. They couldn’t identify one time it’s ever happened. They kept saying how unlikely it was that she could have eaten boar. It’s more unlikely that they would have caught her this way…You can look at nandrolone cases. All the studies — go read them, they’re all publicly available — it’s all injectables…This was a purely theoretical determination.”
Please spend ten minutes reading the piece here: