Rafaela Silva

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Pan Am organizers confirm doping sanction against Olympic judo champion Rafaela Silva

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Brazil’s Rafaela Silva, a judo gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics, is one of three athletes or teams to be stripped of her medal in this summer’s Pan Am Games after a positive drug test, the organizing body announced Wednesday.

Silva’s story of emerging from a violent Rio de Janeiro neighborhood to win gold in her home city made her a celebrity in Brazil and elsewhere. She won the Association of National Olympic Committees Award for Most Inspirational Performance and had a prominent role in bringing the Paralympic torch to Rio.

After winning gold at the Pan Am Games, Silva took bronze at the world championships last month.

Silva addressed her positive test last week, saying the result may have come about through her contact with a baby who uses asthma medication.

READ: Silva claims innocence after positive test

The other medal-winners flagged on doping tests are Puerto Rico’s Jean Francisco Perez Faure, a bowler who won gold in men’s doubles bowling, and Brazil’s Kacio Fonseca da Silva, who had taken bronze in the track cycling men’s team sprint.

Perez’s offense had been previously announced. The American duo of Jakob Butturff and Nick Pate was elevated to gold.

Panam Sports reported 15 Adverse Analytical Findings from more than 2,000 tests tied to the competition in Lima, Peru. Eight cases with unidentified athletes are continuing, some awaiting hearings and some awaiting test results from their B samples.

One of the seven athletes named in Wednesday’s release has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but Panam Sports did not give the athlete’s name, and CAS has not listed a related hearing on its site.

Two players from the Dominican Republic’s baseball team were on the list of positive tests, but the team’s results were not removed because the Pan Am Games’ rules specify that a team will not lose its place unless more than two athletes are sanctioned. The Dominican Republic did not medal.

The other athletes listed, a men’s handball player from Peru and a women’s basketball player from Colombia, also didn’t affect the final results.

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Rafaela Silva, first Brazilian gold medalist at Rio Olympics, claims innocence after positive drug test

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Rafaela Silva, the judoka who grew up in Rio’s most famously violent favela to become Brazil’s first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, reportedly tested positive for a banned substance last month.

Silva tested positive for fenoterol, a substance that can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not have a TUE before testing positive at the Pan American Games in August, according to Brazilian media.

A possible punishment has not been announced.

Silva claimed innocence at a news conference Friday afternoon, saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance, and she plans to compete at a domestic event this weekend, according to O Globo.

Silva, 27, backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships later in August. If she is punished for the positive test, Silva could lose that bronze medal, though she said Friday that she had a clean drug test at worlds, according to O Globo.

Silva, from Rio’s Ciadade de Deus favela, has the Olympic rings tattooed on her right bicep with the inscription “God knows how much I’ve suffered and what I’ve done to get here.”

Brazil’s top female swimmer, Etiene Medeiros, reportedly tested positive for fenoterol in May 2016 but was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics.

In PyeongChang, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol and was scratched before his nation’s last game before it was announced. Jeglic was suspended from the Games and, later, was suspended eight months.

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