Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal has been provisionally suspended for doping violations, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced Thursday.
The 29-year-old American, who claimed Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and also won world gold in Moscow in 2013, was charged with “tampering” with part of a doping control, the AIU said.
Another Olympic medalist suspended
McNeal, who won Olympic and world golds while running under her maiden name of Rollins, is owner of the joint fourth-fastest run in 100m hurdles history, having clocked 12.26 seconds in Des Moines in 2013.
But she now faces the prospect of missing the rescheduled Tokyo Games later this year.
McNeal was previously handed a one-year suspension by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for failing to properly file whereabouts information for out-of-competition testing three times in 2016.
The date of her third and last missed whereabouts report was September 27, just five weeks after her success in Rio.
The ban meant McNeal missed the 2017 world championships in London, but did not affect the gold she won in Brazil.
The hurdler did complete eight out-of-competition tests over the course of 2016 and did not test positive.
McNeal received the least allowable penalty from USADA after it emerged that for two of the missed tests, post-Rio, she had firstly been travelling to her home state of Florida to be honoured and then to meet then-US president Barack Obama.
The ban is a blow to track and field, which has seen a raft of high-profile athletes pick up suspensions for anti-doping violations.
South African Olympic long jump silver medallist Luvo Manyonga, a world champion in 2017 and Commonwealth champion in 2018, last week fell foul of the AIU over whereabouts issues.
Manyonga is the fourth athletics world champion since 2017 banned for a whereabouts infraction. He follows Kenyan middle-distance runner Elijah Manangoi, Bahraini runner Salwa Eid Naser and US sprinter Christian Coleman,
Coleman, the 100m world champion in Doha in 2019, has appealed his ban in attempt to run at the Tokyo Olympics.