One of the most decorated NCAA sprinters and long jumpers of all time, Jarrion Lawson, is facing a four-year doping suspension. Lawson believes his positive test was caused by eating tainted beef at a Japanese restaurant in Arkansas.
According to Time Magazine, Lawson was notified on August 3, 2018 that he tested positive for a metabolite of the banned anabolic steroid trenbolone. Trenbolone is used to encourage growth in cattle. Lawson has produced the receipt proving the purchase of the meal, and also found out that the restaurant sources beef from a company that does use trenbolone. The sprinter’s “A” sample contained about 0.65 nanograms and his “B” sample about 0.80. His lawyer noted to Time that, “those who have tested positive for trenbolone have been in the range of 37 nanograms.”
This isn’t the first time that an American athlete has tested positive and claimed meat contamination. Ajee Wilson tested positive for zeranol back in 2017 following her record-breaking 800m run at the Millrose Games. She was stripped of that record, but didn’t serve any ban as USADA decided that the zeranol came from beef that had been raised with the growth-promoting hormone which she “ate without fault or negligence.” Another sample from Wilson had also come back clean only one week prior.
The question many are asking is why does Lawson’s impending ruling look much worse than Wilson’s verdict? Two very similar stories, but potentially different outcomes. Lawson is currently waiting for the AIU’s ruling and will continue to train in the meantime.