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Hammer Nutrition, Ltd. sued by endurance athletes from Australia, United States, and Canada, claiming positive steroid tests caused by contaminated supplement

Feb 07, 2008

Three athletes – Rebekah Keat from Australia, Amber Neben from the United States, and Mike Vine from Canada – have filed suit against Hammer Nutrition, Ltd. in the Orange County Superior Court, California, alleging that their positive drug tests were caused by the use of Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte supplements that were contaminated with the steroid precursor norandrostenedione.

After winning the 2004 Ironman Western Australia, Australian Rebekah Keat's drug test revealed very small amounts of 19-norandrosterone, a urinary metabolite of the banned steroid precursor norandrostenedione. As a result of the positive drug test, Rebekah Keat was suspended for two years. She has since returned to competition, where she was the winner of the 2007 Ironman Australia, and finished 6th at the 2007 Hawaii Ironman.

In the 2 years since her positive test, Rebekah Keat set out to find the cause of her positive test. During her investigation, she had the Endurolyte supplements that she was taking during the 2004 Ironman Western Australia tested by an independent laboratory for contamination with steroids or steroid precursors. That independent laboratory reported that testing of the Endurolyte supplements revealed that they were in fact contaminated with norandrostenedione, in an amount that is consistent with Rebekah Keat's positive drug test.

Joining Rebekah Keat in the lawsuit are United States cyclist Amber Neben and Canadian triathlete Mike Vine.

Following the UCI Montreal World Cup race on May 31, 2003, Amber Neben's drug test revealed very small amounts of 19-norandrosterone. At the time, she was a member of The T-Mobile Women's Cycling Team (a team sponsored at the time by Hammer Nutrition), and was using Endurolytes. As a result of the positive drug test, Amber Neben was suspended from competition for six months. She has since returned to competition, where she has been ranked in the top-10 cyclists in the world, winning numerous major stage races including the Tour de l'Aude Feminin, the Route de France, and the Redlands Cycling Classic.

Following the 2002 Xterra World Championships Off-Road Triathlon, Mike Vine's drug test revealed very small amounts of 19-norandrosterone. At the time, he was sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, and was using Endurolytes. As a result of the positive drug test, Mike Vine was suspended from competition for two years. He has since returned to competition, winning numerous Xterra Off-road triathlons.

Rebekah Keat commented as follows:

"I have always competed clean, and the positive test and suspension that followed were devastating to me both personally and professionally. I look forward to continued success in my sport, and also look forward to some closure as a result of this lawsuit."

Amber Neben commented as follows:

"Testing positive and being suspended from cycling was one of the most painful experiences in my life. Despite the fact that I have never taken steroids, my career and my accomplishments have been unfairly maligned. It is my hope that with this lawsuit, I can finally put this event behind me."

Mike Vine commented as follows:

"To be unfairly accused of using steroids is one of the worst things that can happen to an athlete. Enduring a 2-year suspension for something that I did not do was incredibly difficult, and my return to sport has not been without some unfair comments from competitors and press."

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