Champion race walker María Guadalupe González has claimed that a positive test for a powerful anabolic steroid was triggered by a meal of tacos al pastor and other meat she had eaten beforehand.
The 30-year-old Mexico City native was handed a four-year ban from competition this week by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF).
González has won numerous trophies including a silver medal at the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016 and has been training in preparation for next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
But she will not be able to compete in Japan unless she wins an appeal against the ban.
González tested positive for trenbolone after an out-of-competition drug test, but denies she took the drug. She said trenbolone is fed to cattle in Mexico to boost metabolism and burn fat. It is also used in higher doses by some athletes to increase muscle mass.
In a report, the Olympian detailed everything that she had consumed before the drug test, which included 200 grams of steak, five tacos al pastor and three medications that include trenbolone.
In response, the IAAF said that the amount of trenbolone found in her system was too great to have come from contaminated meat or pharmaceuticals. The federation engaged a security firm to look into Gonzalez’s claims, which had also included the assertion that a doctor had diagnosed her with anemia and instructed her to eat more meat.
The investigation concluded that González had probably forged hospital records and fabricated restaurant receipts. Although she had initially said she had consumed beef and pork, she later claimed to have consumed liver as well, which can contain higher levels of trenbolone.
“As the maximum permitted residue of trenbolone is five times higher in liver, she had an interest in having eaten liver.”
Although the ruling could prevent her from competing in future events, it does not strip her of her previous medals, including a gold in the 20-kilometer race at the 2015 Pan American Games and silver at the 2017 World Championships. González is expected to appeal the decision, which was issued last November, in the coming days.