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Katie Compton retires following four-year ban by USADA

15-time U.S. national cyclocross champion tests positive for anabolic steroids

Katie Compton Photo by: Wil Matthews

Katie Compton’s career came to a sudden and unexpected end on Wednesday when the 15-time U.S. cyclocross national champion accepted a four-year ban from USADA.

Compton accepted USADA’s ban for the use of non-androgenic anabolic steroids, but continues to argue she did not knowingly or intentionally take performance enhancing drugs in a statement released shortly after USADA’s news.

September sample analyzed twice

Compton’s positive result comes from an out-of-competition test dating back to Sept. 16, 2020. Using a specialized test, Carbon Isotope Ratio testing, that differentiates between naturally occurring anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) and exogenous anabolic agents, USADA determined Compton tested positive for the presence of an anabolic agent.

According to Compton’s statement, the same test initially returned a negative result before being re-tested using the new Carbon isotope Ratio testing method.

“In early February of 2021, after returning from a difficult race season, I learned that the same sample from September was re-analyzed due to a bio-passport irregularity and found to be positive for an exogenous anabolic steroid,” Compton’s statement reads, adding “This was devastating news to me as I have never intentionally or knowingly put anything like that into my body.”

Following that news, Compton decided to both retire and to try defend herself. Compton hired a lawyer to argue her case and tried to prove the substance entered her system accidentally. The U.S. rider was ultimately unsuccessful.

“Over the past six months, I learned that I cannot prove that I didn’t intentionally take anything, and I can’t afford to keep fighting knowing the outcome will be the same regardless,” Compton shared. In part her decision seems to argue the time between providing the sample and finding out the result made arguing her case more difficult.  “Seeing that it was five months between the sample collection and the notification, trying to figure what allegedly got into my body proved to be impossible, and I have decided to stop fighting an expensive and difficult battle and accept the sanction.”

Ending an illustrious career with a question mark

“This news comes with great heartache and sadness, and it is the worst possible way to end my cycling career,” Compton said in her statement.

Indeed, it is  dark end to a long and storied career. Compton was a vocal advocate for clean sport while she was racing.

Most recently, Compton argued against that the six-month ban received by Denise Betsema, saying the UCI was too lenient.