Olympic gold winner Brianna McNeal was handed a five-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit’s Disciplinary Tribunal on Friday for breaking anti-doping regulations, ruling her out of the Tokyo Olympics and the Paris Summer Games in 2024.
McNeal, the defending 110-meter hurdle Olympic champion, was preparing to represent the United States in Japan when the ruling came down. She is accused of “tampering within the results management process.” The unit said it was her second violation.
“The written decision of the three-person panel — Janie Soublière, chair, Dr. Tanja Haug and Pedro Fida — has not been published at this time for confidentiality reasons,” the Athletics Integrity Unit said on Twitter.
The unit said McNeal has already appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and it will be heard before the Tokyo Olympics, which starts July 23. She has been granted the athlete provisional relief and a temporary stay that will allow her to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials at the end of the month.
It’s not the first time McNeal, a former world champion, has run into trouble with anti-doping officials. The former Clemson star was previously banned for 12 months by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for so-called “whereabout violations.”
Athletes must tell drug testers where they will be for 1 hour each day during which they can be tested.
“This is a difficult case because it involves the imposition of a serious penalty on a brilliant athlete who is not charged or suspected of using banned substances of any kind,” The American Arbitration Association said in January, when McNeal was provisionally suspended. “Respondent is justly admired. Respondent won an Olympic Gold medal during the months in question. She has never previously been charged with an Anti-Doping Rule violation. She successfully submitted to in-competition tests eight times and out-of-competition tests eight times during 2016.”