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, was banned two years and is in line to miss the Tokyo Olympics, according to multiple Brazilian reports.
Silva tested positive for a banned substance at August’s Pan American Games, it was previously announced. The substance, fenoterol, can be legal to treat asthma if an athlete has a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). Silva did not produce a TUE, so she was stripped of a Pan Am gold medal.
Silva is appealing the suspension, according to Brazilian media.
Silva claimed innocence at a news conference in September, reportedly saying that a young child with whom she had bodily contact at her training location used the substance.
The 27-year-old backed up her Rio Olympic 57kg title by taking bronze at the world championships in August, after the Pan Am Games but before her positive test was announced. Silva said 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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