American sprinter Latasha Jenkins, who won an appeal in December to return to athletics following a drug ban, has had her ruling challenged by the World Anti-Doping Agency according to wire reports today.
Jenkins, 30, who trained under disgraced coach Trevor Graham, tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid nandrolone at the KBC Knight of Athletics in Belgium on 2006-July-22, and faced a two-year ban from the sport by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Jenkins, a 200m sprinter with a 22,29 personal record, had never tested positive for any illegal substances under IAAF or USADA testing custody prior to this occasion. She agreed to begin the ban on 2006-October-23 following her "B"-sample notification.
A three-person North American arbitration panel ruled on 2008-January-25 against USADA on a technicality, exonerating Jenkins due to both European labs (Ghent, Belgium and Köln ("Cologn", Germany) -- which conducted the sample tests -- having violated international requirements that the tests be run by two different technicians.
USADA is the independent anti-doping agency for Olympic related sport in the United States. It was created as the result of recommendations made by the United States Olympic Committee's Select Task Force on Externalization to uphold the Olympic ideal of fair play, and to represent the interests of Olympic, Pan American Games, and Paralympic athletes.
This was USADA's first arbitration loss against 35 victories since the United States Olympic Committee created it eight years ago.
Jenkins has not escaped the issue of how the nandrolone entered her body, however, and it is a fact which WADA, the world's anti-doping body with higher reach than USADA, appears ready to have further considered with CAS - the binding decision-makers of arbitration cases in sport.
Jenkins had her findings set aside, because of the testing violations and USADA's inability to demonstrate that the breaches did not undermine the validity of the test results.
USADA had maintained that the Cologne laboratory's collaboration of Ghent's findings was strong evidence of a doping violation, but the panel was not satisfied insofar as both laboratories committed protocol violations in their discovery work.
According to Jenkins' attorney Michael Straubel, the lab in Ghent analyzed the sample with gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry, the basic method of finding steroids.
The Cologne performed a carbon isotope ratio analysis, used to determine whether the substance involved is naturally occurring in the body or from an external source.
At issue was that officials at both laboratories violated specific sections of the International Standard for Laboratories which would ensure that different people would carry out parts of the test which measure quantitative measures. The same analyst at the Ghent laboratory handled the "A"- and "B"-samples, and, moreover, the same condition occured at the Cologne laboratory.
Asked following the exoneration why both labs would have made the same mistake in using only one technician, Straubel said, "They thought the rule was unnecessary and they complied with it in what proved to be an inadequate way."
The nandrolone was initially discovered eight days after Jenkins' 125ml urine sample was express-shipped from the collection spot at the meet to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Ghent - a time frame within the universal protocols set in place.
The IAAF, who were immediately alerted of the positive "A"-sample analysis, requested the the reserved portions of the "A"-sample be tested as soon as possible, with the WADA-approved laboratory in Köln, Germany (the "Cologne" facility) to retest and perform an analysis.
The Cologne laboratory discovered a similar finding, and alerted IAAF on 2006-August-8 that Jenkins' values of norandrosterone indicated an application of nandrolone and nandrolone pro-hormones.
Six weeks following the "A" test, the Ghent facility performed analysis on Jenkins' "B"-sample, concluding after the three separate analyses done that Jenkins' urine did contain Norandrosterone which clearly crossed the "positive" threshhold.
Straubel expressed shock and concern that the case had been appealed, believing that the errors were of grave nature, and the exoneration mandatory.
Experts on hand during the American arbitration stated that had Jenkins' sample been tampered with at the Ghent laboratory during the derivitization stage, it would not have triggered a positive, adverse finding, because the urine at the Cologne laboratory came from a separate bottle, and preceded the Ghent testing.
Jenkins, who has not competed since being exonerated by the American panel, is one of 11 track and field athletes under Graham's guidance who have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Graham, who is due to stand trial in United States Federal court in June for obstruction of justice charges stemming from an allegation he made false statements to investigators in the year-old BALCO scandal, has maintained that he has had no knowledge of any of his athletes using steroids - a claim which Marion Jones called into question when she confessed last October to using drugs Graham provided her.
Trevor Graham-coached athletes who have been banned for steroid use:
- Michelle Collins: Banned for eight years – later reduced to four years – by a panel of members of American Arbitration Association and the North American Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, Collins was found to have used EPO, THG and a testosterone cream based on evidence collected in the BALCO investigation and presented to CAS. She reluctantly conceded her guilt after a fierce word battle with USADA. Collins surrendered her first-place finish in the 200m at the 2003 USA Indoor Championships, and also her 100m victory at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships.
- Justin Gatlin: Proposed eight-year ban for second doping offence after testing positive for testosterone during Kansas Relays in April 2006. First offence (2001-June 16-17) was for a banned substance (an amphetamine) found in medication – a ban the IAAF reduced. Gatlin did, however, surrender his victories in the 100m, 200m and 110m hurdles at the USA Junior Championships where the positive test was discovered. Gatlin’s legal team working on “special circumstance” clause to prove Gatlin had drugs in his body without his knowledge.
- Alvin Harrison: accepted a four-year ban for drug violations, admitting to USADA accusations of him having used testosterone, THG, HGH and erythropoietin (EPO) between 2001-June-1 and 2004-October-18. He surrendered all his competitive results for this period, but not before stating that his attorney would file a lawsuit against USATF which upheld cheater Jerome Young’s doping appeal until it was overturned by CAS in June 2004.
- Calvin Harrison: Handed a two-year suspension by USADA for a second positive modafinil test, and was stripped of his 2nd-place finish in the 400m at the 2003 USA Track & Field Championships (2003-June-21). The first was a result of pseudo ephedrine usage as a junior athlete.
- C.J. Hunter: Banned for two years in 2001 after his announced retirement in 2000. Failed four tests for nandrolone in the summer leading up to the Sydney Olympics.
- Patrick Jarrett: Banned two years in 2001 after testing positive for Stanozolol at his national championships.
- LaTasha Jenkins: Tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid nandrolone. Faced a two-year ban. A three-person North American arbitration panel ruled against USADA on a technicality, exonerating Jenkins due to both European labs (Ghent, Belgium and Cologne, Germany) which conducted the sample tests violated international requirements that the tests be run by two different technicians. WADA filed an appeal on the case to CAS on 2008-February-19.
- Marion Jones: Accused of taking EPO based on an “A”-sample test conducted in June, 2006. “B”-sample findings exonerated Marion Jones based on the discrepancy between the “A”- and “B”-samples.
- Marion Jones: Confessed in October 2007 of having taken drugs under Graham’s watch, with Graham having provided her drugs without her knowledge starting in September 2000.
- Dennis Mitchell: Suspended two years by a three-member IAAF panel which had ruled that a test of Mitchell’s urine had proved he was taking banned steroids. A United States panel had cleared him of the same charge.
- Tim Montgomery: Banned for two years without a positive test based on information released by the U.S. Senate to USADA, whereby he told the grand jury that Victor Conte gave him weekly doses of THG in 2001. He testified that he used the banned substance for eight months, part of the information of which was corroborated by information banned sprinter Kelli White provided in testimony during the BALCO investigation. Banned from 2005-June-6 to 2007-June-6 and was stripped of his world-record (9,88 seconds).
- Jerome Young: Banned for lifetime after a positive test for EPO in 2004-July-23 at a meeting in Paris. The EPO incident is not known to be related to BALCO. Young had been exonerated by the USATF Appeals Panel allowing Young to compete in the Sydney Olympics after Young had a positive test for nandrolone (1999 USA Outdoor Championships) overturned by the results of a negative test six days later, and negative tests 14 days before the positive. CAS overturned the ruling and Young surrendered all results from 1999-June-26 to 2001-June-25.