Sprinter Christian Coleman Did NOT Violate Anti-Doping Rules

USADA realized it made a mistake by charging sprinter Christian Coleman with an anti-doping rule violation.

Sprinter Christian Coleman was right. And the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was wrong. Coleman did NOT commit an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) as USADA originally claimed.

USADA admitted its mistake and withdrew its claim that Coleman committed a violation of the “Whereabouts Rules”. USADA explained its mistake in a statement released on September 2, 2019.

“USADA announced today that its has withdrawn its charge… Coleman is not considered to have three Whereabouts Failures in a 12-month period and is not considered to have committed an anti-doping rule violation.”

USADA incorrectly calculated the 12-month period involving Coleman’s “Whereabouts Failures”.

USADA made an error when determining the dates in which the recording of the whereabouts failures occurred under the rules outlined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).

Coleman did, in fact, fail to make himself available for anti-doping tests on three occasions within a 12-month period. The actual dates of the missed drug tests were June 6, 2018; January 16, 2019; and April 26, 2019.

Three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period is considered an ADRV.

However, USADA failed to calculate the 12-month window correctly under the rules. The ISTI rules dictate that the recorded dates of the Whereabouts Failures must be backdated to the first day of the quarter in which the failure occurred. The recorded dates do not necessarily correspond to the actual dates of the missed drug tests.

Therefore, the recorded dates of the Whereabouts Failures for Coleman were April 1, 2018; January 1, 2019 and April 1, 2019. The three failures clearly did not occur within a 12-month period according to the strict interpretation of the rules.

Many observers have claimed that Coleman escaped punishment based on a technicality. But that is the entire point of rules. Rule are all about technicalities. Either Coleman committed an ADRV or he did not.

USADA, WADA, and the IAAF Athletics Integrity Unit have all agreed that Coleman did not commit an ADRV.

If anti-doping officials are unhappy with the rules as they currently exist then perhaps they should change them. And the early indicators suggest that they will.

Sources:
  • USADA. (September 2, 2019). Whereabouts Violation Case Against U.S. Track & Field Athlete Christian Coleman Withdrawn. Retrieved from usada.org/whereabouts-violation-case-against-usa-track-field-athlete-christian-coleman-withdrawn/

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