Shelby Houlihan on Burrito Defense: “I don’t know with 100 percent certainty that that’s where it came from”

May 25, 2022

A week after the final appeal of her four-year doping suspension to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland was dismissed, American women’s 1500 and 5000-meter record holder Shelby Houlihan has started speaking out about her case with the media now that she has no legal appeals left in her case (She also issued her own statement on Instagram which we covered previously here and did a 90-minute podcast with high school student Dominic Schlueter).

Sara Lorge Butler did a Q&A for Runner’s World with Shelby Houlihan yesterday about her doping ban. The Q&A was initially free but is now behind the Runner’s World paywall. We want to highlight a few things that Houlihan said.

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Houlihan On Whether The Pork Burrito Caused Her Positive: “I don’t know with 100 percent certainty that that’s where it came from”

When asked, ‘Do you still believe that the tainted burrito was the way that the nandrolone got into your’ system,’ Houlihan replied.

Yeah, I mean, it’s hard, right? I don’t know with 100 percent certainty that that’s where it came from. The only thing I do know is that I didn’t intentionally ingest [nandrolone]. For us, looking at all of the facts of the case—we tested all my vitamins and stuff like that, and we were really going through everything I ingested, and we were looking at this food truck.

We knew that nandrolone can be found in pig offal. The food truck served pig offal. I didn’t order that. I ordered a carne asada burrito, but it definitely was different than what I typically ordered. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It was greasier, more rich. I couldn’t finish it. And then when you ingest pig offal, the peak levels of concentration in your body, they kind of peak at 10 hours after you eat it. And I had eaten it 10 hours before that test. Just all those different facts, I felt like, for us, added up to make some sense. And we didn’t really have anything else to go off of. That’s where our logic was.

Obviously it’s still not the most probable thing that’s going to happen by any means, but that’s not anything that we were ever arguing. This is what we felt like made the most sense. That’s the route we tried to prove. Honestly, I don’t know for sure where it came from. I’ve asked myself that question a million times.

Houlihan On TUEs/Supplements

Houlihan also told Lorge Butler she had no TUE’s (Therapeutic Use Exemption to take a substance that would otherwise be banned) and her team tested all of her supplements for contamination. Some of the batches she had been using she no longer had, so it was impossible to test everything she had taken at the time of her positive nandrolone test. As for her supplements, Houlihan said the only she takes is a calcium gummy vitamin, a multivitamin gummy vitamin, a vitamin D gummy vitamin, and a B complex vitamin. Additionally, when she goes to altitude, she takes iron.

Nike No Longer Supporting Her Financially

Houlihan also revealed Nike is no longer supporting her financially and she is pursuing job opportunities. She wants to continue competing when her ban is up. Houlihan said she no longer runs with any Bowerman team members, nor is coached by Jerry Schumacher.

The Process Needs to Change – “Things weren’t handled in the right way”

Houlihan’s comments to Lorge Buttler echoed what Houlihan said when she released her own statement on instagram yesterday that said amongst other things: “I believe that the system is more focused on banning athletes rather than figuring out and valuing the truth. I do not believe they are protecting clean athletes.”

She said to Runnersworld:

I definitely think things weren’t handled in the right way. The process wasn’t what I felt it should be.

 (Runnersworld) What did you feel it should be?

I felt like there should be a mutual interest to find out what the truth is. When this all happened, obviously I was absolutely terrified and depressed that this was going on, and I didn’t have any explanation as to what happened, but I was trying to put my trust in the drug testing process because it’s put in place to protect clean athletes. I trusted that after they kind of dug and did an investigation, they would ultimately see that I was innocent. That’s kind of what I thought was going to happen. That’s not at all what happened. There was no investigation at all. They didn’t dig or anything.

Full RW Q&A here.

Discussion: MB: SHELBY HOULIHAN SPEAKS! Issues statement, does 90min podcast explaining her side.

More: LRC An In-Depth Analysis of The Shelby Houlihan Doping Case by Sports Scientist Ross Tucker Ross goes through the CAS decision step by step from beginning to end, clarifies some of the more esoteric aspects of the case and outlines in clear terms exactly what Houlihan argued and why he thinks CAS ultimately (correctly) ruled against her.

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