American sprinter receives three-month suspension after test taken at Edmonton International Track Classic in July
Wallace Spearmon has been suspended for three months after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
The American sprinter, who won world 200m medals in 2005, 2007 and 2009, has been handed the suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after an in-competition sample taken at the Edmonton International Track Classic on July 6, 2014, tested positive for Methylprednisolone.
Spearmon’s suspension began on August 27, 2014 – the date he accepted a provisional suspension – with any results recorded on or since July 6 to be annulled.
The 29-year-old had hinted that some news about him was due to break when on Friday September 12 he tweeted: “In about a week I’ll make a statement that will disappoint quite a few people. I apologize in advance. Irresponsible moments.”
Earlier today the two-time Olympian, who has won the US 200m title three times, followed that up by adding: “Morning world time to man up. I imagine today will be tough but it will pass. Let’s get it.”
Following the release of a USADA statement confirming Spearmon’s suspension, Track & Field News reported how they had spoken to the sprinter on Monday and Spearmon had said: “I was not trying to cheat, I made a mistake.”
The statement from USADA read in part: “After a thorough review of the case, including Spearmon’s medical records, USADA has accepted Spearmon’s explanation that the Methylprednisolone was not being used in an effort to enhance his performance and that he was taking the prescribed medication in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician.
“USADA can grant a Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) in situations where an athlete has a legitimate medical need to use a substance or method listed on the WADA Prohibited List; however, Spearmon failed to apply for a TUE prior to using the medication.”
Track & Field News reported how Spearmon, who has a 200m personal best of 19.65 from 2006 and has run a best of 20.19 for the distance in 2014, had sought treatment from a Dr. Mark Bonner for “cold-like symptoms and a sore throat”.
“T&FN has reviewed Bonner’s clinical record of Spearmon’s visit, in which the doctor described the sprinter having symptoms of “cough, fatigue, fever, generalized weakness, myalgia and wheezing.” The clinic record shows that the injection Bonner prescribed contained 160mg of Depomedrol (of which the primary ingredient is Methylprednisolone) and 12 units of the antibiotic Bicillin,” reported Track & Field News.
As the USADA statement explains, Methylprednisolone is a glucocorticosteroid prohibited in-competition. “Glucocorticosteroids are classified as a Specified Substance, and therefore the presence of Methylprednisolone in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction,” read the statement.