American hurdler Brianna McNeal will not be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after her five-year ban for violating anti-doping rules was upheld on Friday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an independent institution that facilitates settlements relating to disputes in sports. In this case, CAS upheld the ban that was put in place by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), a division of World Athletics.

At issue was a doping test McNeal missed on January 12, 2020, two days after she had an abortion. USA Today reported that McNeal argued in April 2021 that she had the abortion so she could still compete in the Olympics. She claimed she was depressed and heavily sedated following the procedure and spent a lot of time sleeping in the days after her abortion, causing her to miss the drug test.

McNeal is not accused of actually doping, but after missing the drug test, she altered three doctors’ notes over the span of a few months to change the date of her abortion from January 10 to January 11, one day closer to the missed test.

The AIU responded to McNeal’s claims that she slept through the test by saying her social media activity during those days did not support her argument, telling arbitration committee that McNeal’s “physical incapacity on the weekend of the missed test was less serious than how she portrayed it.” The AIU also said McNeal’s decision to alter multiple doctor’s notes amounted to a “drastic and fraudulent step” that no reasonable person would have taken.

McNeal claimed she altered the notes because she thought her doctor had written the wrong date on them. As the AIU noted, McNeal altered the dates over several months without checking with her doctor to confirm the correct date, a move the AIU said was an attempt to deceive anti-doping officials and get away with missing the test.

McNeal appealed the AIU’s ban and was allowed to compete at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon in late June, where she finished second in the 100-meter hurdles and qualified to represent the U.S. in Tokyo. With the ban upheld, McNeal loses her spot on the U.S. team and will be replaced by Gabbi Cunningham, who finished fourth at the trials. The ban will also keep McNeal from competing in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

In response to the ban being upheld, McNeal blamed racism, suggesting a white athlete wouldn’t face the same punishment in the same situation.

“I am being excommunicated from the sport as if I was shooting up drugs my entire career,” she wrote on Instagram. “My peers and I know how screwed up and flawed the system is and this goes below the belt. Where are the people that [are] suppose (sic) to protect the athletes that are doing things right and find themselves in human mistakes?

“I don’t like to take it here but I can’t help but wonder if I was a white woman, or a European, would I have been met with some sort of consideration?” she added.

The AIU also said on Friday that McNeal “never confessed her tampering.”

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