Middle distance runner Shelby Houlihan admitted defeat in her bid to race at the US Olympic track and field trials on Friday after a bid to obtain an injunction against her doping suspension was unsuccessful.
The 28-year-old US 1,500m and 5,000m record holder is serving a four-year doping ban after testing positive for a banned steroid last December, which the runner blamed on eating contaminated meat contained in a burrito.
News of Houlihan’s suspension emerged earlier this week after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland upheld her ban.
Houlihan’s lawyers sought an emergency injunction with the Swiss Federal Tribunal which would have allowed her to run at the trials in Eugene while her appeal of the CAS decision was pending.
However the runner said in a statement on Friday that the request for an injunction had been rejected, meaning she will not be able to take part in the opening rounds of the women’s 1,500m later Friday.
“I never had any intention of competing if this injunction wasn’t granted,” Houlihan said.
“This ruling means that my goal of making another Olympic team is over for now. It absolutely breaks my heart to have my dreams and career taken away for something I did not do.”
Houlihan said she would continue with the appeals process in Switzerland once CAS issued its full ruling of her case.
“I will forge ahead with my appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal once the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues its reasoned decision,” she said.
“I am told that appeals of this kind are difficult to win, but I continue to believe that the truth will prevail.”
United States Track and Field had triggered uproar on Thursday after stating that Houlihan would be allowed to run in the trials as her appeals process was still ongoing.
That decision drew significant pushback from the Athletics Integrity Unit, World Athletics’ independent anti-doping arm, which warned that allowing Houlihan to race would violate the international anti-doping code.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee later appeared to close the door on Houlihan’s chances of running, stating that it would abide by anti-doping regulations.