Matthew Centrowitz defends Shelby Houlihan: “Absolutely, I support her. I believe her….I could have been in the position she was in”

By Jonathan Gault
June 28, 2021

When Shelby Houlihan announced two weeks ago that she had been handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, Instagram was quickly flooded by supportive posts from her teammates. Karissa Schweizer, Courtney Frerichs, and Evan Jager were among the Bowerman Track Club athletes who posted messages of support for Houlihan.

Matthew Centrowitz was not among them. But on Sunday night, after making his third Olympic team in the 1500 meters, Centrowitz, who mostly stays off of social media during major championships, addressed the Houlihan situation publicly for the first time. (Video at bottom of page).

“Unfortunately, I don’t write as well as Chris Derrick and everyone on my team and it was hard to put in words how this situation made me feel,” Centrowitz said.

“…I guess the best place to start with that is: absolutely, I support her. I believe her. And you know, I don’t think it’s a complete secret that her and I did have a relationship in the past, so I know her really well. I know the type of athlete, the type of individual she is. Her situation hits really close to home, probably more than anyone else on the team, because of our past relationship and me knowing about this case really well.”

Specifically, Centrowitz revealed that, while dating, she and Houlihan would frequently visit the same food truck that Houlihan cited as the source of the nandrolone in her positive drug test on December 15.

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Tim Healy for TrackTown USA

“Truth be told, I could have been in the position she was in,” Centrowitz said. “The burrito truck that she ate was a place that I ate every single time with her. Her and I would always get the same carne asada burrito. And the one time that she didn’t, she was going over and watched The Bachelorette with the girls and I ate dinner with a teammate. And we both got tested the next morning, and that was the test that they found the contaminated meat.”

Centrowitz said that had Houlihan been doing anything untoward, he would have been aware of it.

“When people ask about teammates or athletes, whether they’re clean or dirty or whatever, most of the time, you can be like, I feel confident or comfortable speaking that I believe that person or don’t believe that person,” Centrowitz said. “But at the end of the day, none of us really go home with those type of people or with some of those teammates, you know. You don’t live with them. 

“But with Shelby, I was there 24/7. I know what she was putting in her body. I know the vitamins that she was taking. I would have seen it, because I was there, literally, 24/7 with her.”

Talk about Centrowitz’s defense of Houlihan on our messageboard.

MB: Centro defends Shelby

Video set to start with Houlihan comments:

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