Help Shelby fight to prove her innocence

You can read the full story and supporting information by clicking here .

On January 14th, 2021, Shelby was blindsided that a drug testing sample she gave on December 15th, 2020 had come back as a positive test for an anabolic steroid called Nandrolone. She was not even aware what Nandrolone was. 

Shelby and her team don't know with 100% certainty where this trace amount of Nandrolone came from. The only thing they do know for certain is that she did not take it intentionally. Shelby did not take Nandrolone and has never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drug.

Here is what they do know:

-Nandrolone can be found naturally in high amounts in pig offal (pig organs).

-Shelby ordered a carne asada burrito from a Mexican food truck that also happens to serve pig offal for dinner the night before her December 15th test.

-When consuming Nandrolone by means of pig offal, Nandrolone levels are at their highest concentration in the human body approximately 10 hours after consumption.

-Shelby ate her burrito approximately 10 hours prior to the December 15th test.

-Her burrito was heavier and greasier than normal.

-She also consumed Calcium vitamins, Multivitamins, Vitamin D, and a B-Complex vitamin.

Looking at the above accumulation of facts, Shelby and her team concluded the burrito from the night before, whether containing pig offal or contaminated with pig offal, had to be the most likely explanation for the trace amount of Nandrolone in her system.

Other facts for your consideration:

-Shelby provided hair samples for laboratory analysis which came back 100% clean with no buildup of Nandrolone. This in combination with clean drug testing samples before and after her December 15th test proved that it was not from an injection. 

-Shelby submitted to a lie detector test and it was concluded that she was truthful about not knowingly taking Nandrolone. 

-Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) refused to do a pharmacokinetic analysis which would have helped determine the source of the positive test. 

-After being notified of her positive test by the AIU on January 14th, 2021, Shelby was placed on provisional suspension (she was not allowed to compete). Over the next 4 months, the AIU refused to communicate or provide any updates, progress, or status of her case during the period leading up to the Olympic Trials, forcing her to turn to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) so that her case could be handled in a timely manner. 

With the Olympic Trials quickly approaching, Shelby had to agree to an expedited single hearing in front of a 3 member Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel. Shelby was ultimately banned for 4 years from the sport and missed her chance at an Olympic team bid and ultimately competing for an Olympic medal.

She has continued to try to fight for herself by turning to the Swiss Federal Tribunal to appeal and attempt to overturn the CAS ruling. She was told it is extremely hard to overturn these cases and to not get her hopes up. Unfortunately, the Swiss Federal Tribunal dismissed her appeal and she wasn't able to overturn the CAS ruling.

In this process, the athlete is assumed guilty. It is the athlete's burden to figure out the source and prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. The athlete has to pay for a legal team, to have a hearing, for all tests done from supplement and meat source analyses to hair sampling and lie detection, experts to testify in their defense, and more. It is incredibly expensive for athletes to try to defend themselves throughout this process.

This process has been physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially draining for Shelby. If you'd like to help and show your support, you can do this by giving words of support and sharing about this injustice. Any support is greatly appreciated.

Shelby Houlihan decided at age 5 she wanted to be a runner; dreaming of Olympic gold, records, and being the best in the world. She is the American Record holder in the 1500m and 5000m, and has made the Olympic team. She built on more than 20 years of training to attain the most coveted prospect in the sport: consistency. She believes in herself and the purity of the sport, and is determined to leave the sport better than when she found it. Her dream is to push the sport forward and to show young women they do not need to temper their dreams based on others definitions of limits. They should instead dream big and put their limits on the other side of those dreams.

You can read the full story and supporting information at

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Shelby Houlihan
Beaverton, OR

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