One of the most accomplished sprinters in the United Kingdom, an athlete that has been representing Great Britain at both the Olympics and numerous World Championships, has been busted using clenbuterol (a performance-enhancing drug) and received a four year suspension because of it.
Nigel Levine reportedly tested positive for using clenbuterol during a standard “out of competition” urine sample that was collected according to WADA rules and guidelines in November 2017. At that point in time, Levine had been training at the Brunel University facilities as he was getting ready to make another run at the World Championships and was hoping to make the UK Olympic team again.
The urine sample (both the Primary and Secondary samples) were tested individually at the WADA accredited laboratory found at Kings College in London. Both tested positive for the presence of clenbuterol.
Like so many other athletes before him that had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, Levine has decided to go with a strong denial of ever intentionally using any performance-enhancing drug – clenbuterol or otherwise.
He has openly speculated in the press that perhaps his positive test was related to his use of two separate dietary supplements that he had recently switched to during his out of competition training. The only problem with this speculation on his behalf is that he has been unable or unwilling to identify these two supplements or provide evidence that they were contaminated.
After WADA contacted him (through the UK Anti-Doping Organization) and made him aware of his suspension Levine told them that he believed to supplements were responsible, sending in an empty bottle of the first supplement he reported may have caused this positive test and then a handful of unlabeled and unidentified pills that showed no signs of being contaminated with clenbuterol to represent the second supplement he couldn’t name.
For obvious reasons, the UK Anti-Doping organization did not find this denial plausible or acceptable.
Information that they released separately, the UK Anti-Doping organization purported that the bottle Levine had provided them was scrubbed free of any supplement substance and couldn’t be tested for trace elements of clenbuterol or any other ingredients. The pills that were provided weren’t identified by Levine, but were later identified by the UK Anti-Doping organization and were found to not have been used by Levine at all according to his biometric passport.
A chief executive at the UK Anti-Doping organization named Nicole Sapstead has really taken Levine to task. She charged him with not living up to the high standards required of an Olympic athlete and admonished him for not fully or authentically representing everything that British athletics have come to mean.
The four year suspension that Levine is going to face (barring a secondary and successful appeal of this initial suspension) will dramatically setback his aspirations to compete for the UK at the highest levels of domestic and international competition from here on out.
In January 2017 Levine was in a very serious motorcycle accident that required a considerable amount of rest and rehabilitation, and it’s unlikely that he will be able to overcome this – combined with four years out of high-level competition – to continue going toe to toe with top athletes around the world that have been healthy and competing right along for the same block of time.
If the suspension as it has been handed down now holds, Levine will not be eligible to compete in the UK or abroad until December 12 of 2021. By that point in time it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to be part of the World Championship and Olympic teams that he was such a big part of in the past.