American Brianna McNeal, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, is facing a five-year ban for allegedly violating anti-doping rules.
McNeal, 29, was sanctioned for “tampering within the results management process,” according to a ruling Friday by the Athletics Integrity Unit, which runs the anti-doping program for track and field’s international governing body, World Athletics.
The ban was backdated to Aug. 15, 2020. If upheld, it would effectively prevent McNeal from competing in both the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.
A native of Miami, McNeal won gold at the 2016 Rio Games and was world champion in 2013.
She has appealed the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
She will be allowed to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials later this month while her appeal is pending. Her appeal will be heard before this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, which are scheduled to begin on July 23.
McNeal’s lawyers told USA Today she is appealing the AIU’s ruling because “she is not a doper, and firmly believes that she did not violate any anti-doping rule.”
“This case involves a misunderstanding related to an explanation that Brianna McNeal voluntarily provided to the AIU about a January 2020 missed test,” attorneys Howard Jacobs and Lindsay Brandon said in a statement on Friday. “The AIU has not accused Brianna McNeal of ever using any banned substances, has not accused Brianna McNeal of evading doping control; and has not accused Brianna McNeal of tampering with any urine sample or blood sample.”
It is the second time McNeal — who competed collegiately at Clemson — has been suspended for allegedly violating anti-doping rules. She missed the 2017 World Championships while serving a one-year ban imposed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for missing three drug tests.
–Field Level Media