[UPDATE THURSDAY, JUNE 17 2 P.M.] Iowa native Shelby Houlihan will now be allowed to compete in her events during Friday's U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, while she appeals her 4-year ban from the sport. Houlihan was banned, retroactive to January 14, 2021 earlier this week after failing a drug test in December of 2020. She vehemently denies she has ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

According to NBC Sports, Houlihan will be allowed to run in both the 5000 meters and 1500 meters. She's the American record holder at both of those distances.

[ORIGINAL STORY] The U.S. Olympic women's track and field team won't include an Iowa native when they begin late next month in Tokyo, Japan after she tested positive for a banned substance. However, after hearing what she had to say, I'm on her side.

28-year-old Sioux City native Shelby Houlihan, who was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team, made the 5000-meter final at the 2016 games. She has now been banned from track and field for four years after testing positive for Nandrolone. NBC says it's an "androgen and anabolic steroid known to increase muscle mass." The announcement comes just days before the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field, which begin this Friday. The athletes are trying to qualify for the Summer Games from July 23 through August 8.

Houlihan says she didn't knowingly take a steroid and never has in her career. I know what you're probably thinking, but I believe her. Here's why.

Shelby Houlihan was tested at 6 a.m. on December 15, 2020, at the World Anti-Doping Agency. She was notified of the positive test on January 14, 2021. Houlihan couldn't believe what she was reading.

After tracing everything she'd eaten in the two weeks leading up to the positive test, Houlihan determined the Nandrolone had to have come from a pork burrito she'd eaten the previous evening. Paul Greene, a Global Sports Advocates lawyer, says pig meat can indeed include Nandrolone.

Houlihan says her Nandrolone level was "consistent with those of subjects who were tested 10 hours after eating this source and WADA technical guidelines require the lab to consider it when analyzing nandrolone, the lab never accounted for this possibility."

She requested a hearing, took a polygraph test, and had a toxicology sample done of her hair. Houlihan did all of it to no avail. Sports Illustrated reports the Court of Arbitration for Sport revealed that they agree with the charge by the Athletics Integrity Unit. Houlihan has been banned for four years, retroactive to January 14, 2021.

Monday night, Houlihan, a 13-time champion in the U.S. released the powerful video statement below. I wish her the best as she continues to not only fight to prove her innocence but to get back on the track. I believe her. Do you?

CHECK IT OUT: 100 sports records and the stories behind them

 

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.