The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced that a ban of three months has been imposed on Beijing Olympics 100 meters hurdles champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.
Harper-Nelson tested positive for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide and the ban is effective from December 1, 2016. Harper-Nelson was disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to December 1, 2016, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
The 32-year-old tested positive for the prohibited substance Hydrochlorothiazide and related metabolites as a result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided on December 1, 2016. In the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents, Hydrochlorothiazide is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policies, and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping Policy, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency remarked it accepted the explanation provided by the athlete that her failed test was caused by medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension. In a statement, USADA said it has accepted Harper-Nelson's explanation that her positive test was caused by a blood pressure medication she was prescribed by a physician to treat hypertension.
Harper-Nelson wrote on Twitter that she was rushed to the emergency after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. The athlete added that her doctor prescribed a non-performance enhancing medication for high blood pressure that contained Hydrochlorothiazide, water pill. Justifying her innocence, Harper-Nelson said she never hid her use of this required medication but did fail to completely understand how its administration was governed by current anti-doping protocols.
The American track and field athlete who specializes in the 100-meter hurdles added she takes complete responsibility of her mistake and have fully cooperated with the world governing body of athletics and USADA in handling of the matter. Harper-Nelson added she had learned a valuable lesson and hope her mistake will serve as a reminder to all athletes to be diligent in thoroughly checking any and all prescribed medications.
Harper-Nelson, the silver medalist in the 2012 London Olympic Games, is the first American 100-meter hurdler to ever win gold at an Olympics and medal in the following Olympics.
Dawn showed much promise in high school sport and won her first IHSA 2A State Championship after she broke the Illinois State record in the 100m hurdles her freshman year with a time of 14.03. She won the 300m hurdles with a time of 42.70 in her freshman year. Dawn Harper-Nelson won the sprint hurdles at the US Junior Championships and at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships during her time with the UCLA Bruins. Dawn received All-American honors twice at the 2004 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship after she came eighth in the 100 m hurdles final and took the second place in the 4×100-meter relay. Harper won her first Olympic gold medal for 100 m hurdles with a time of 12.54 seconds and propelled Harper to international renown.
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