Shelby Houlihan said that a tainted pork burrito lead her to test positive for a banned substance. The U.S. 1500m and 5,000m record holder has just been placed on a four year ban for doping. This came after her claim that she ate a contaminated pork burrito ten hours before a positive test for nandrolone. Now fans are wondering whether Houlihan’s burrito story is crazy, true or somewhere in between.

In a statement, Houlihan claimed that she had “never even heard of nandrolone” when she was first told of the news by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) back in January. The drug test was at 6 a.m. in December of 2020, and the 28-year-old athletic star insisted that ingesting the anabolic steroid must have inadvertently come from eating a burrito. Houlihan informs that the burrito came “from an authentic Mexican food truck that serves pig offal near [her] house in Beaverton, Oregon” ten hours before the drug test was administered.

Shelby Houlihan finished fourth at the 2019 world championships and was considered a leading Olympic medal contender. She ran 1500m in 3min 54.99sec, setting the American record. Houlihan finished 11th at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 5,000-meter event. Just last July, Houlihan broke the U.S. 5,000-meter mark with her time of 14:23.92 in Portland, Oregon.

The trials for the postponed Tokyo Olympics for track and field were set to start in Eugene, Oregon this week. She made the announcement of her ban on her Instagram account this Monday.

Shelby Houlihan’s Instagram Post and Statement Announcing Her 4 Year Sports Ban. Photo Credit: @shelbo800 on Instagram.

The runner said that she has done “everything I could to prove my innocence.” She continued to write, “I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance-enhancing substances. And that includes that of which I am being accused.” Houlihan had taken a polygraph and a hair sample analyzed by toxicologists, both tests she passed.

“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,” she revealed. But the lab and the judging panels ruled that Houlihan was “a cheater and that a steroid was ingested orally.”

“I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was,” Houlihan wrote. This came after the Court of Arbitration for Sport, “did not accept my explanation of what had occurred and has subsequently banned me from the sport for four years.”

“I feel completely devastated, lost, broken, angry, confused and betrayed by the very sport that I’ve loved and poured myself into just to see how good I was,” the Olympic hopeful and medal contender added to her Instagram post.

Shelby Houlihan’s coach, Jerry Schumacher, also spoke out against the verdict. This is what he said in his statement:

“To the AIU and Wada: Shame on you. Shame on you for not caring about the truth. Shame on you for using athletes in a political chess match. You got it very wrong this time and that is not OK. It’s not OK to be right nine out of 10 times when deciding to execute someone’s athletic life and dreams.”

“After being charged by the AIU, Ms Houlihan’s case was heard by a three-member panel at Cas, which made its decision after hearing evidence and arguments from the athlete’s lawyers and the AIU,” Brett Clothier, the head of the AIU, said regarding Schumacher’s words.

Shelby Houlihan gets five-year ban. The runner claims it was a tainted burrito that elicited the positive drug test.
Shelby Houlihan gets five-year ban. The runner claims it was a tainted burrito that elicited the positive drug test. Photo Credit: Shelby/Instagram

Shelby Houlihan’s case was quickly dismissed back in December and January. Though it was appealed and looked over a second time, an unfair verdict was reached. It is unclear if there was an ulterior or political motive. What is clear, is that a promising, athletic young woman was just banned from her favorite sport and that her career was possibly ruined.

Shelby Houlihan isn’t the only one dealing with Olympic troubles. Madeline Groves just pulled out of the swimming trials for misogynistic behavior. And a Russian tennis player, Yana Sizikova, was just accused and arrested for fixing a tennis match at the French open.