Banned runner Shelby Houlihan can compete in Olympic track and field trials while appeal is pending

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Banned runner Shelby Houlihan will be allowed to take part in the Olympics track and field trials Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Houlihan announced Monday she received a four-year ban after testing positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. Houlihan believes a burrito caused the positive test. 

Despite that, USA Track and Field (USATF) will allow Houlihan to run in the preliminaries for the 1,500 and 5,000 meters events. Houlihan holds the American record at both distances. 

USATF said it would allow any athlete to compete at the trials if they had pending appeals, according to the AP.

“Given there is an active appeal process, USATF will allow any athletes to continue competing until the process is completed,” managing director of communications Susan Hazzard said.

USATF views that as the better option for now. If Houlihan qualifies and later gets reinstated, she'll be allowed to compete in the event. If she's not allowed to run, but later gets reinstated, that would make the situation more complicated. 

Shelby Houlihan already lost one appeal

Houlihan originally received her suspension from the Athletics Integrity Unit. She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but it did not accept her appeal.

Houlihan posits that she tested positive for nandrolone after eating a burrito from a food truck. Nandrolone had been previously found in pork. Houlihan says her levels of the steroid were low enough that it proves she wasn't taking the drug regularly. 

USATF said it wants to wait on an appeal, but Houlihan has not announced whether she will continue to fight the ruling. The fact that Houlihan is running Friday suggests her fight isn't done just yet.

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