Aja Evans, an Olympic bobsled bronze medalist, was banned two years for not submitting a drug-testing sample during an out-of-competition test on March 29.
Evans, a 34-year-old who earned Olympic bronze in 2014 and placed fifth in 2018, “failed to submit to sample collection after being notified by a USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] doping control officer,” according to a press release.
Athletes can qualify for a reduction from the default four-year ban for not submitting a sample if they can show that it wasn’t intentional. A USADA investigation determined Evans “negligently failed to submit to sample collection.”
Evans’ ban began on Nov. 8, the date she accepted the sanction.
She released the following statement through a representative:
As many of you know, I’ve dedicated my heart and soul to bobsled over these last 10 years. The sport has rewarded me with not only amazing opportunities and achievements, but also tremendous teammates and friends. I am very grateful for my journey through bobsled and for the personal growth I’ve experienced by being in the sport.
In the spirit of good sportsmanship and professional responsibility I accept the two-year sanction imposed upon me by USADA. At no time have I ever purposely avoided testing or failed a test, as my integrity and dignity stands for so much more than that. My mistake was simply failing to submit to a test when the rules mandated that I had to. Although I never thought I had done anything wrong at that time, I understand my actions have consequences.
I humbly accept this sanction, and will use the time to focus on my health and wellbeing. This is by no means a reflection of who I am in the sport of bobsled, as my impact in the sport remains positive and far reaching, even outside of competition. And, I will always remain positive, appreciative, and practice good sportsmanship.
To accept this sanction was a very difficult decision to make, but one that I ultimately felt was necessary given where I am in my life. At this time, I ask for your support and respect as I turn inward and focus on myself so that I can come out from this a better athlete and an even better person.
Thank you, everyone, in advance, for your love and support.
Evans was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team this past February after making the previous two Olympic teams. She was set back last season by a Dec. 3 training accident that put her in a hospital with facial lacerations.
The World Cup bobsled season starts next week. Evans had been the lone Olympian named to the national team of female push athletes for this season.
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