Arbitrator Upholds Sanction for U.S. Track & Field Athlete

An independent American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitrator has issued a decision upholding the suspension for two years of Mark Jelks, of Kansas City, Kan., an athlete in the sport of Track & Field, for committing an anti-doping rule violation, according to an announcement by the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA).

The 28-year-old Jelks is a member of the USADA Registered Testing Pool that consists of a select group of athletes subject to certain whereabouts requirements in order to be located for USADA Out-of-Competition testing. The athlete failed to comply with the whereabouts requirements and, as a result, accrued three Whereabouts Failures within a period of 18 months. The combination of three Whereabouts Failures within an 18-month period constitutes an anti-doping rules violation under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”).

A Whereabouts Failure includes failure to offer required quarterly whereabouts filings (Filing Failure) and failure to be available for testing during a 60-minute window designated by the athlete (Missed Test). Mark Jelks accrued two filing failures and one missed test within a period of 18 months.

Jelks was sanctioned with a two-year period of ineligibility in 2010 after he failed to respond to numerous communications from USADA concerning his violation of anti-doping rules. The athlete contacted USADA in December 2011 and made a request for a reduction in his ineligibility period. The anti-doping agency declined to unilaterally reduce ineligibility period of the athlete but agreed to have the matter heard by an AAA arbitrator because of the unique circumstances of his case. The hearing started on April 18, 2012 and was declared closed on April 30, 2012. A decision was issued by the arbitrator on May 25, 2012 that denied the request made by Jelks for a reduction in his period of ineligibility and the two-year period of ineligibility for Jelks completed on August 22, 2012.

Athletes, including Jelks, are required to complete the Athlete’s Advantage online tutorial of USADA before being enrolled in the USADA registered testing pool that explains to athletes in detail their responsibilities as members of the Pool, including their obligations to comply with the whereabouts requirements. Jelks received a two-year period of ineligibility that began on August 23, 2010, consistent with the code, and the athlete was disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to April 18, 2010, the date of his last Whereabouts Failure, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

Born on April 10, 1984, the American track and field athlete specializes in the 100-meter dash and has a personal best of 9.99 seconds for the event and represented the United States at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. Jelks competed in the 60-meter dash and won the national title at the 2009 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships with a personal record of 6.51 seconds. He broke the 10-second barrier for the first time at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials and started the 2010 indoor season in top form by winning the 60 m in Düsseldorf with a time of 6.56 seconds.

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