Olympic Champ Bri Rollins Gets Year Suspension For Missing Three Drug Tests

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced today that 100 meter hurdles Olympic and world champion Brianna Rollins retroactively started a one-year suspension on December 19, 2016. Rollins did not test positive for anything, but she did miss three tests last year, one in April and two tests two weeks apart in September. Athletes in certain testing pools have to register their whereabouts--in this case two of the tests were supposed to be conducted by the IAAF and another by USADA.

The third missed test was on September 27, and after an unsuccessful appeal, Rollins will have all of her results stripped since then. That part of the sanction is meaningless, as Rollins has not raced since winning the Olympic final in August. She led a historic 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 meter hurdles in Rio, with fellow Americans Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin finishing second and third.

All three violations are described in the appeal and come across as more comic incompetence than nefariousness. The first violation came when she said she would be home in California from 7:00-8:00 AM on April 27, but at the Drake Relays April 27-30. The report says that "when reached by phone at 7:08 a.m., [Rollins] indicated that she was on her way to the airport for a flight." The drug tester then comes to the airport, but Rollins had already gone through security. The IAAF told Rollins immediately that this counted as a missed test and asked her to respond in writing, which her camp never did.

Rollins said in her appeal that she thought her Drake entry eliminated her morning California entry when she put the former in the whereabouts system.

The second violation has Rollins filing her whereabouts at home and at training, but a drug tester going to her home and being told she is actually in Florida. The third violation is similar: a drug tester calls Rollins at 7:49 AM from her house, Rollins answers and says she's in Atlanta, and claims that she had updated her whereabouts filings. The IAAF claims that the filings were, in fact, not updated; Rollins claims that an email she sent seven days before saying "will be in Atlanta tomorrow" covers it.

The arbitration panel writes that Rollins's travel for the second and third violations were from when she was flying to the White House to be honored by President Obama, and to Miami to be honored at Brianna Rollins Day at her high school. The panel also notes that USATF, USADA, the IAAF, and Rollins's agents did not help her after the first two violations, saying that "we do note that the computer filing system and the agencies connected with it have failed to design it to assist the athletes as much as possible to avoid confusion...The NGB left her on her own. Respondent's own sports agency did not involve itself in her compliance activities or problems. Only after the third Incident, when it was too late, did they help her fashion her response."

Because of these mitigating factors--and Rollins's clean testing record--the panel reduced a possible two-year sanction to one.

USADA flack Ryan Madden has a statement from Rollins's camp:

Rollins was unsuccessfully represented by legendary sports lawyer Howard Jacobs, who has defended athletes in hundreds of doping cases.

The entire appeal is below.

Brown Cuts Men's Track & Field/XC

Brown University is cutting men’s track and field and cross country along with nine other varsity sports at the school, the school announced on Thursday as part of their roll out of The Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.

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Appalachian State Cuts Men's Indoor Track And Field

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Leo Daschbach Becomes 11th U.S. Prep To Break 4:00 With 3:59.54


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Is NCAA Track/XC Dying?


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The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

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Understanding Resting And Maximum Heart Rate

Throughout the past years, business has combined the health and technology industries to create a society where fitness tracking has become a regular pastime. People have become more invested in their health and want fun devices to assist in that. These smartwatches and apps have made it easier than ever to know what your exact heart rate is, how many hours of sleep you get, or how far you run. However, with all the knowledge presented to you, it’s equally important to actually understand what those numbers mean to best achieve all of your fitness goals. A big part of this is knowing the different active and resting heart rate zones. 

Pre-Run And Post-Run Stretches

Stretching before and after your run can add a lot of benefits to your exercise routine. It allows you to warm up your muscles and safely progress into your run and also provides your body time to cool off and continue to activate your muscles. It’s important to set aside a couple of minutes before and after exercising so you can make sure you’re taking proper care of your body. 

The History Of Track And Field

Track and field has been around since the start of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. It was created alongside religious events and celebrations for the Greek gods where men (no women were allowed) could show off their athletic abilities. From there it spread to the Romans who continued the games until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them in 394 A.D. because of their ties to pagan beliefs. 

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History could be headed our way on Saturday in California.