By Ashley Lauretta
Triathletes Beth Gerdes and Lauren Barnett have both received suspensions after doping violations in 2016. Gerdes announced the news in a blog post, while Barnett’s came via a press release.
Gerdes has received a two-year suspension after testing positive for a substance called Ostarine at IRONMAN Australia in May 2016—a race which she won. She denies knowingly taking substances and passed a polygraph test to prove any trace of the substance in her system was unintentional. Due to the length of the ban, Gerdes has also announced she will not return to racing.
“I will still serve a two-year suspension from the WTC, which is the minimum possible sanction without definitively proving the source of the Ostarine,” Gerdes writes. “I do not intend to compete or return to professional competition as this has not only ruined my career, but my spirit as well. I will not say that I will never again toe a start line, as I hope one day to join my children in a turkey trot or fun run, but at this point, that is the extent of it.”
Barnett has received a six-month suspension after testing positive for the same substance as Gerdes. However, her ban expires today, as her suspension was retroactive and began from the positive test date of July 17, 2016. Her lesser suspension is due to the fact that WTC was able to pinpoint the source of the substance to contaminated salt tablets after testing from an open bottle used by Barnett and a closed bottle with the same batch number.
““As I look for the silver lining in what has been the most difficult and emotional ordeal I’ve ever been through, I am happy that in cooperation with WTC, we were able to establish convincing scientific proof of supplement contamination,” states Barnett. She continues, “I never would have imagined that a salt tablet, an electrolyte replacement that endurance athletes routinely rely on while racing in hot and humid conditions, could be the root cause of all of this.”