Multi-time 70.3 winner Lisa Marangon makes official statement prior to receiving maximum penalty from ASADA for testing positive for banned PED.

Multi-time 70.3 winner Lisa Marangon makes official statement prior to receiving maximum penalty from ASADA for testing positive for banned PED.

Nearly five months after being notified she had tested positive for the banned performance enhancing drug (PED), Ostarine, following her fifth-place finish at Challenge Melbourne in January, Australian pro triathlete Lisa Marangon has issued a precursory statement to Triathlete prior to what is expected to be a maximum ban (four years) issued by the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA) within the next 48 hours (Australian Eastern Standard Time – AEST).

The 36-year-old Sydney native was first contacted on March 9 regarding her positive A-sample, and then again in May after her B-sample also came back positive.

According to Marangon, who denies any intentional wrongdoing or knowledge of the drug in question, her water bottle was maliciously tampered with during a 30-minute window while her race nutrition was left unattended prior to the half-iron distance race start. Marangon told Triathlete during an exclusive interview set to be published next week, she was offered two reduced sentences by ASADA if she would provide the agency an admission of guilt—the first, a one-year sentence following the initial findings, and a subsequent two-year ban after the second urine sample proved conclusive.

The multi-time Ironman 70.3 winner and former top-ranked ITU Long Distance female (2009) refused to plea bargain as she adamantly proclaims her innocence as read in her official statement sent to Triathlete on Friday.

Lisa Marangon’s official statement:

“It is with a heavy heart that I wish to announce that in January of this year I tested positive for a banned substance, called ‘Ostarine.’ As will be evident over the coming period of time, I maintain that I did not knowingly take this substance and that I am the victim of tampering and or sabotage at the hands of person/s who wish to cause me harm. 

“I will continue to protest my innocence, regardless of the findings and sanctions which are in the process of being handed down against me. Whilst I am devastated that this will likely bring about the end of my professional triathlon career, I would like to state clearly that I have been completely honest and fully cooperative with ASADA during the investigative process, and hold no ill will toward that agency, the race or the sport. 

“As stated above, I will continue to try to clear my name and hopefully also serve as an example to others to be more careful in the future.” – Lisa Marangon, Friday, July 29, 2016

Also known as MK-2866, Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM). The drug binds to an athlete’s muscle receptors and enhances steroid-like muscle growth. Independent testing showed Marangon had 25mg of the PED in her system on race day.

Triathlete sent an email request on Monday to Triathlon Australia for a comment on the matter, and the national governing body replied stating: “the matter falls under the direction of ASADA and as such we are unable to make comment at this stage.”

In March, U.S. triathlete Ashley Paulson, 34, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, accepted a six-month ban for testing positive for the same drug in an out-of-competition urine sample test in September 2015.

The recently turned pro was taking a supplement that was subsequently examined, tested and found to be contaminated with the drug.

Her period of ineligibility began on Oct. 16, 2015. She has been disqualified from all competitive results, medals, points and prizes obtained on or after Sept. 14, the date the sample was collected.

Marangon’s last win came in December at the inaugural T3X Endurance Triathlon (4km swim/120km bike/30km run) six weeks prior to Challenge Melbourne (Jan. 31). Her last three races since include seventh-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Geelong (Feb. 7), fourth-place at the Husky ‘Long Course’ (Feb. 21) and a DNF at Ironman New Zealand (March 5).

Aaron S. Lee is a pro triathlon and cycling columnist for Eurosport, and contributor to Triathlete and Velonews.