18 March 2022

The SII Anti-Doping Monitor – week ending 18 March 2022

Six athletes from five countries, competing in five sports, were involved in anti-doping proceedings that came to light this week. Perhaps the most complicated story involves a New Zealand cyclist, who was dropped by her Human Powered Health team this week. Olivia Ray also no longer features as a member of that team on the international cycling union’s (UCI) website, despite winning the New Zealand Road Championship for Human Powered Health in February (see right).

The reasons why are unclear. An investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is underway, reports Cycling Tips, however USADA or any other anti-doping authority has yet to confirm if it is investigating Ray. The website reports that she is involved in a court case that involves her personal relationships, which uncovered photo evidence of potential prohibited substance use. Ray has responded with a cryptic Instagram message (below).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by O Ray (@oooorrrayyyy)

The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) confirmed that in June last year, it appealed to the Conseil d’Etat to double a two year ban imposed on cyclist Marion Sicot. She was provisionally suspended on 18 July 2019 due to an adverse analytical finding (AAF – or ‘positive test’) for Erythropoietin (EPO).

After initially protesting innocence, Sicot later admitted injecting EPO in order to regain the confidence of team manager Marc Bracke, against whom she filed a sexual harassment complaint alleging she was sidelined after stopping sending pictures of her in her underwear that he had requested. The UCI upheld allegations of harassment against Bracke, which it is understood that the AFLD initially took into account when deciding to halve her four year sanction. 

Bracke has since appealed a three year ban imposed by the UCI for sexual harassment, and filed a defamation claim with the French Courts. ‘We stay convinced that Marion Sicot’s accusations against Marc Bracke have no other intention than to obtain a reduced suspension for her use of doping, in which she has succeeded’, read a statement from his Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Team. ‘We remark that Marion Sicot’s complaint against Marc Bracke was made only 8 months after she was informed to be caught for doping and after she had denied her use of doping for months with a series of the most unbelievable explanations’.

The AFLD appeal doesn’t necessarily mean that it agrees with this assessment of Sicot’s case. Under the principal of strict liability, an athlete’s motivation for committing an ADRV is immaterial. Anti-doping authorities are often keen to avoid precedents where an athlete’s circumstances have to taken into consideration in issuing sanctions for an ADRV. For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unsuccessfully appealed against a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to reduce Australian swimmer Shayna Jack’s four year ban to two years. 

Another high profile case involves Mark Otieno, who was provisionally suspended after returning an AAF for Methasterone at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Kenyan 100m sprinter denied intentionally doping at the time, and this week said that Laboratory test results had confirmed a contaminated supplement (see below). The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics, which is responsible for sanctioning Otieno, has yet to comment.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mark Otieno (@mark_100m)

Please continue to send any cases we may have missed or suggestions through to our editor by clicking here. Also, if you’re an athlete, national anti-doping organisation (NADO) or other Results Management Authority and you’d like us to cover a case that you’re involved with, please get in touch! Also – a reminder. The SII Anti-Doping Monitor only features confirmed AAFs (‘positive tests’) or confirmed anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs).

Decision Links

Françoise Jaquerod;

Ekaterina Vystavkina (Doseykina);

Rory Ferguson;

Alicia Bloom;

Mark Otieno Odhiambo (Instagram Statement, ITA Statement on AAF; AIU Update)

You may also like...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This