ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
Senior Staff Writer // Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @PhotoAmy33
Amy Kaplan

In the light of potential USADA violations by Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar there has been heated discussions about potential flaws in the USADA system.

Both fighters claim they are innocent, but is it possible for someone to ingest something that could cause a negative result without their knowledge?

According to USADA, yes.

Recently USADA announced that it had cleared a female gymnast who had been flagged for a potential violation, finding that the substance she was flagged for was actually ingested in tap water.

Yes, tap water. Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet?

Kristen Shaldybin, an 18-year-old gymnast, was flagged in June for hydrochlorothiazide and its marker during an out-of-competition drug test and was subsequently temporarily suspended.

During their investigation they found that the substance was in the tap water coming from her municipal water facility (meaning it was not pre packaged or purchased at a store).

"USADA reviewed all the evidence, including laboratory reports demonstrating very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance in the athlete’s urine sample. Together with the circumstances of ingestion and scientific evidence provided by published literature and expert reports, USADA concluded on a balance of probabilities that the athlete unknowingly ingested the hydrochlorothiazide through tap water obtained from the municipal water supply."

In this instance she was cleared and her suspension was lifted.

Now, this example is very different from a possible tainted supplement. In my opinion it is a fighters job to know what is in the supplements he/she is taking, so claiming ignorance later is not an acceptable excuse. A supplement is not required in daily life, like meat or water. Jones has hinted that he believes the issue came from a tainted supplement.

Regardless, this is a surprising turn of events and could cause understandable pause when someone is initially flagged.

Jones is currently under a temporary suspension, Lesnar has not been suspended yet.

(Image via


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