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U.S. Weightlifting Athlete Matthew McCullough Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation


Press Release

18th September 2020

USADA announced today that Matthew McCullough, of Houston, Texas, an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, has accepted a 20-month sanction after testing positive for a prohibited substance.

McCullough, 25, tested positive for higenamine as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on July 28, 2020. Higenamine is a Specified Substance in the class of Beta-2 Agonists and is prohibited at all times under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Anti-Doping Policy, and the International Weightlifting Federation Anti-Doping Policy, all of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Following an investigation into the circumstances of McCullough’s case, USADA concluded that his positive test was caused by his use of two dietary supplements that listed higenamine on the label. The products are on the High Risk List maintained on USADA’s online dietary supplement safety education and awareness resource – Supplement 411 (www.Supplement411.org). Athletes and other sport stakeholders are reminded that dietary supplements sold in the U.S. do not receive any pre-market safety or efficacy reviews by government authorities, and thus, an increased level of due diligence is necessary to challenge the reasons for use and understand the risks of a positive anti-doping test and/or an adverse health event.

USADA determined that a reduced sanction was appropriate due to McCullough’s forthright declaration of the supplements on his doping control form and cooperation throughout the results management process. McCullough’s 20-month period of ineligibility began on July 28, 2020, the date his positive sample was collected. In addition, McCullough has been disqualified from competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 28, 2020, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.

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