Why One Runner Is Claiming A Burrito Got Her Banned From The Olympics

A rather unexpected controversy has erupted after a distance runner, Shelby Houlihan, announced that she's been let down by the Tokyo Olympics. The athlete was banned from the event after her test results indicated that she was positive for a steroid called nandrolone, NPR reports. 

Her response? Well, Houlihan claimed that the result was linked to a pork burrito that she ate from a Mexican food truck hours before the test. Her story didn't impress officials who have issued a ban that will last for four years. Houlihan is gutted. She wrote about her ordeal on Instagram and claimed to be completely innocent. She said, "I want to be very clear. I have never taken any performance enhancing substances ... I believe in the sport and pushing your body to the limit just to see where the limit is.

The news came as a shock to the athlete, who said that she didn't even know nandrolone is and had to look it up online. 

She believes that eating pork affected her results

The athlete further explained on Instagram that after receiving her results from the World Anti-Doping Agency, she dug around and her research indicated that "eating pork can lead to a false positive for nandrolone, since certain types of pigs produce it naturally in high amounts."

As per NPR, experts who are knowledgable about the subject believe that it's not so simple to establish a link between pork and a false positive on a test. Dr. Heather Fowler from the National Pork Board commented, "Some research suggests the naturally occurring hormones in the meat and organs from intact male pigs (boars) can impact nandrolone test results ... but the vast majority of the pork consumed in the U.S. does not come from boars."

Another expert, Keeve Nachman, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health added that it did seem far-fetched that pork would contain the steroid. He explained, "Nandrolone is not approved for use in any food animal."

However, Shelby Houlihan continues to insist that she's innocent and has been wronged. She added that she's done what she could to prove her innocence including going through a polygraph test and getting her hair sample tested by a toxicologist.