On Monday morning, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced the provisional suspension of Jamaican 400m runner and 2022 world championship silver medalist Christopher Taylor for evading and refusing to submit to a sample collection, stemming from an incident in November 2022.
Taylor, an Olympic and World Championships finalist in the men’s 400m, may face a four-year ban if he is found guilty; he has not competed since Aug. 30, 2022. At the 2022 World Championships, he anchored the Jamaican 4x400m team to a silver medal.
Christopher Taylor (Jamaica) is provisionally suspended for Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection by an Athlete.
Details here: https://t.co/Cq4Q2MR0LJ pic.twitter.com/Av1gfHF9h2
— Athletics Integrity Unit (@aiu_athletics) June 12, 2023
According to the Jamaica Observer, Taylor was contacted in November by anti-doping officials, who had turned up to conduct a test at his home in Kingston, Jamaica (the location he had indicated on his whereabouts form). When the officials arrived, Taylor was at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, waiting to catch a flight to the US
If an athlete is not where they say they are when anti-doping officials show up, it counts as a missed test. Typically, a first or second offense does not carry any penalty, but if an athlete misses three tests during a 12-month period, that constitutes a whereabouts violation, resulting in an automatic period of ineligibility.
However, in Taylor’s case, he is believed to have violated WADA Anti-Doping Code Article 2.3, which speaks to purposely “evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection,” resulting in a mandatory two- or four-year ban. If Taylor can establish that the rule violation was not intentional, the period of ineligibility may be reduced.
sports lawyer Paul Greene, who has previously represented high-profile athletes, Shelby Houlihan and Peter Bol, has been representing Taylor. In the interview with the Jamaica Observer, Greene says that upon discovering that Taylor was at the airport, the doping control officer tracked him down, but Taylor refused to test because he didn’t want to miss his flight. Taylor assumed this would simply count as one of an allowable three whereabouts violations, and Greene claims Taylor would have consented to the test if he’d known his behavior would be interpreted as an attempt to avoid being tested.
Shelby Houlihan loses her final appeal
Before being notified of the suspension, Greene admitted there are some gray areas in the interpretation of rules differentiating a whereabouts failure from an attempt to evade testing, and that Taylor could either avoid any penalty or be slapped with a multi-year ban.