USADA bans Blandford for four years

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) (Image credit: USADA)

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced this week a four-year ban imposed on US masters national champion Jenna Blandford, 33, of Louisville, Kentucky. Blandford was reported to the agency's Play Clean Tip Center hotline by her boyfriend, Jeff Miller, who accepted a four-year ban and agreed to cooperate with USADA.

According to the American Arbitration Association (AAA) award document, Blandford lived with Miller, her coach and partner, who testified during the arbitration hearing that he used testosterone. Blandford also used testosterone, according to Miller, until her voice began to change, at which point he says she switched to human growth hormone (hGH) and oxandrolone.

Their relationship ended in November, 2016 and she moved out. During their break-up, Miller had threatened to turn her in to USADA for doping.

Miller provided text message exchanges as well as five used syringes, opened vials of Soma-Max 10 with hGH, an open bottle of oxandrolone and receipts for the purchase of the prohibited substances.

Blandford denied using the drugs, claiming that Miller faked the text message exchanges and turned her in out of spite after she left him. She submitted to an out-of-competition doping control on December 3, 2016 and tested negative for performance enhancing substances.

In 2017, Blandford continued to compete, winning four short-track races in Louisville and several other top-10 finishes in cross-country events, including a fourth in the Lumberjack 100 in Michigan, third in the Pisgah Monster Cross Challenge in North Carolina and third in the Fool's Gold race in Georgia in September.

During this time, Blandford continued to protest her innocence, but refused to submit to testing to compare her DNA fingerprint to those on the syringes and declined to allow her phone to be examined.

The AAA award states that "The Arbitrator did not find Respondent's former boyfriend, Jeff Miller, to be credible. Standing alone, Miller's testimony would certainly be inadequate to comfortably satisfy the Arbitrator. It is the opinion of the Arbitrator that Miller reported [Blandford] out of spite three days after she left him, despite his testimony that he reported her because he regretted that 'we were cheating our friends'".

However, Blandford was banned because some text messages exchanged with Miller prior to their relationship souring had indicated that she used performance enhancing drugs.

"The culmination of all the evidence was more than adequate to comfortably satisfy the Arbitrator and establish that an anti-doping rule violation occurred."

Blandford was given a four-year ban for non-analytical evidence that she "possessed and used three prohibited substances: testosterone, human growth hormone (hGH), and oxandrolone."

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